mudcat.org: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color

Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 09:34 AM
Mrrzy 25 Feb 08 - 09:45 AM
wysiwyg 25 Feb 08 - 09:52 AM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM
Georgiansilver 25 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM
Beer 25 Feb 08 - 09:54 AM
BuckMulligan 25 Feb 08 - 10:01 AM
Mr Happy 25 Feb 08 - 10:01 AM
pdq 25 Feb 08 - 10:02 AM
John Hardly 25 Feb 08 - 10:05 AM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 10:06 AM
Amos 25 Feb 08 - 10:07 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 25 Feb 08 - 10:07 AM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 10:09 AM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 10:11 AM
John MacKenzie 25 Feb 08 - 10:12 AM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 10:15 AM
pdq 25 Feb 08 - 10:19 AM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 10:21 AM
pdq 25 Feb 08 - 10:25 AM
Kweku 25 Feb 08 - 10:28 AM
Amos 25 Feb 08 - 10:31 AM
Mr Happy 25 Feb 08 - 10:34 AM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 10:36 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 25 Feb 08 - 10:40 AM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 10:41 AM
Mr Happy 25 Feb 08 - 10:42 AM
Teribus 25 Feb 08 - 10:46 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 10:47 AM
BuckMulligan 25 Feb 08 - 10:47 AM
dwditty 25 Feb 08 - 10:51 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Feb 08 - 10:59 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 10:59 AM
catspaw49 25 Feb 08 - 11:04 AM
catspaw49 25 Feb 08 - 11:08 AM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 11:18 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 11:20 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 11:25 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 11:38 AM
John MacKenzie 25 Feb 08 - 11:38 AM
catspaw49 25 Feb 08 - 11:40 AM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 11:45 AM
wysiwyg 25 Feb 08 - 11:46 AM
Bee 25 Feb 08 - 11:53 AM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 11:59 AM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 12:03 PM
Rapparee 25 Feb 08 - 12:06 PM
Bert 25 Feb 08 - 12:13 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 12:25 PM
Bat Goddess 25 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM
John MacKenzie 25 Feb 08 - 12:30 PM
Megan L 25 Feb 08 - 12:37 PM
Beer 25 Feb 08 - 12:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,HiLo 25 Feb 08 - 12:55 PM
beardedbruce 25 Feb 08 - 12:55 PM
artbrooks 25 Feb 08 - 12:58 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Feb 08 - 01:00 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Feb 08 - 01:01 PM
Peace 25 Feb 08 - 01:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 01:16 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Feb 08 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Appaloosa Lady 25 Feb 08 - 01:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 01:48 PM
M.Ted 25 Feb 08 - 01:51 PM
artbrooks 25 Feb 08 - 02:05 PM
Grab 25 Feb 08 - 02:08 PM
M.Ted 25 Feb 08 - 03:08 PM
John Hardly 25 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 03:42 PM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 08 - 04:05 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 04:17 PM
catspaw49 25 Feb 08 - 04:18 PM
peregrina 25 Feb 08 - 04:23 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 04:24 PM
gnu 25 Feb 08 - 04:25 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 04:47 PM
Rowan 25 Feb 08 - 04:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 05:04 PM
Bobert 25 Feb 08 - 05:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 05:32 PM
John Hardly 25 Feb 08 - 05:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 06:11 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Feb 08 - 06:34 PM
Donuel 25 Feb 08 - 06:40 PM
katlaughing 25 Feb 08 - 07:10 PM
SINSULL 25 Feb 08 - 07:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Feb 08 - 07:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 07:57 PM
Donuel 25 Feb 08 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 08:05 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 08:06 PM
John O'L 25 Feb 08 - 08:15 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 08:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 08:24 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 08:26 PM
Amos 25 Feb 08 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 08:30 PM
Bobert 25 Feb 08 - 08:31 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 08:34 PM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 08 - 08:40 PM
Beer 25 Feb 08 - 08:40 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 08 - 08:40 PM
Bobert 25 Feb 08 - 08:41 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 08:49 PM
Rowan 25 Feb 08 - 08:52 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 08:56 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 08:59 PM
M.Ted 25 Feb 08 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 09:01 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 09:02 PM
Bill D 25 Feb 08 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 09:09 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 25 Feb 08 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,lox 25 Feb 08 - 09:10 PM
M.Ted 25 Feb 08 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Feb 08 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Feb 08 - 11:03 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Feb 08 - 11:34 PM
Amos 25 Feb 08 - 11:41 PM
Gulliver 25 Feb 08 - 11:45 PM
Slag 26 Feb 08 - 12:02 AM
Slag 26 Feb 08 - 12:13 AM
Gulliver 26 Feb 08 - 12:14 AM
Grab 26 Feb 08 - 05:14 AM
John MacKenzie 26 Feb 08 - 05:33 AM
Kweku 26 Feb 08 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,harpgirl 26 Feb 08 - 05:48 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 26 Feb 08 - 06:13 AM
Megan L 26 Feb 08 - 06:52 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Feb 08 - 07:21 AM
BuckMulligan 26 Feb 08 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,lox 26 Feb 08 - 12:54 PM
Mr Red 26 Feb 08 - 01:30 PM
Donuel 26 Feb 08 - 03:47 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 08 - 05:03 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Feb 08 - 05:28 PM
Georgiansilver 26 Feb 08 - 06:03 PM
M.Ted 26 Feb 08 - 06:41 PM
Rustic Rebel 26 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM
robomatic 26 Feb 08 - 07:54 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 08 - 02:18 AM
mg 27 Feb 08 - 02:22 AM
mg 27 Feb 08 - 02:27 AM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 03:43 AM
s&r 27 Feb 08 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge waiting to lecture... 27 Feb 08 - 04:55 AM
Grab 27 Feb 08 - 09:01 AM
SINSULL 27 Feb 08 - 10:04 AM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 01:38 PM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Feb 08 - 01:39 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 02:22 PM
Bill D 27 Feb 08 - 02:25 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 02:34 PM
Peace 27 Feb 08 - 02:40 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 03:04 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 08 - 03:26 PM
Peace 27 Feb 08 - 03:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Feb 08 - 04:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 08 - 04:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 08 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,mg 27 Feb 08 - 04:50 PM
robomatic 27 Feb 08 - 04:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 08 - 04:58 PM
katlaughing 27 Feb 08 - 05:01 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 08 - 05:14 PM
M.Ted 27 Feb 08 - 05:15 PM
Rowan 27 Feb 08 - 05:24 PM
curmudgeon 27 Feb 08 - 05:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 08 - 06:28 PM
Rowan 27 Feb 08 - 07:04 PM
meself 27 Feb 08 - 08:35 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 08 - 09:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Feb 08 - 09:14 PM
katlaughing 27 Feb 08 - 09:53 PM
katlaughing 27 Feb 08 - 09:57 PM
meself 27 Feb 08 - 11:52 PM
Janie 28 Feb 08 - 12:15 AM
meself 28 Feb 08 - 12:23 AM
Ebbie 28 Feb 08 - 01:10 AM
Megan L 28 Feb 08 - 03:38 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 08 - 04:12 AM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 06:38 AM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 06:49 AM
MaineDog 28 Feb 08 - 07:40 AM
Big Mick 28 Feb 08 - 10:04 AM
Peace 28 Feb 08 - 10:12 AM
Stilly River Sage 28 Feb 08 - 10:17 AM
Lonesome EJ 28 Feb 08 - 10:19 AM
artbrooks 28 Feb 08 - 10:20 AM
Lonesome EJ 28 Feb 08 - 10:22 AM
Peace 28 Feb 08 - 10:23 AM
M.Ted 28 Feb 08 - 11:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 08 - 11:15 AM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 12:45 PM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 12:47 PM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 12:48 PM
Bee 28 Feb 08 - 01:14 PM
John MacKenzie 28 Feb 08 - 01:23 PM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 01:32 PM
Big Mick 28 Feb 08 - 01:57 PM
Peace 28 Feb 08 - 02:20 PM
Emma B 28 Feb 08 - 02:49 PM
Amos 28 Feb 08 - 02:56 PM
Bee 28 Feb 08 - 03:00 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Feb 08 - 04:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 08 - 04:26 PM
Big Mick 28 Feb 08 - 04:35 PM
Rowan 28 Feb 08 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,mg 28 Feb 08 - 04:54 PM
katlaughing 28 Feb 08 - 04:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 08 - 05:16 PM
Rowan 28 Feb 08 - 05:49 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 Feb 08 - 06:28 PM
Bee 28 Feb 08 - 07:14 PM
Big Mick 28 Feb 08 - 07:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM
John Hardly 28 Feb 08 - 07:42 PM
Big Mick 28 Feb 08 - 07:53 PM
Rowan 28 Feb 08 - 07:59 PM
artbrooks 28 Feb 08 - 08:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 08 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,mg 28 Feb 08 - 08:12 PM
artbrooks 28 Feb 08 - 08:15 PM
Azizi 28 Feb 08 - 09:18 PM
Charley Noble 28 Feb 08 - 10:09 PM
Peace 29 Feb 08 - 05:46 AM
Emma B 29 Feb 08 - 05:57 AM
Charley Noble 29 Feb 08 - 09:18 AM
Azizi 29 Feb 08 - 09:39 AM
Stringsinger 29 Feb 08 - 10:09 AM
Lonesome EJ 29 Feb 08 - 01:42 PM
John Hardly 29 Feb 08 - 01:54 PM
Azizi 29 Feb 08 - 02:16 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 29 Feb 08 - 05:57 PM
John Hardly 29 Feb 08 - 06:07 PM
John Hardly 29 Feb 08 - 06:54 PM
katlaughing 29 Feb 08 - 06:58 PM
Azizi 29 Feb 08 - 08:37 PM
Rowan 29 Feb 08 - 08:52 PM
Charley Noble 29 Feb 08 - 09:03 PM
Azizi 29 Feb 08 - 09:27 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 06:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Mar 08 - 06:41 AM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 08:53 AM
artbrooks 01 Mar 08 - 10:24 AM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 08 - 11:45 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Mar 08 - 11:48 AM
Azizi 01 Mar 08 - 12:15 PM
Azizi 01 Mar 08 - 12:26 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 12:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Mar 08 - 01:44 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 02:10 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 02:10 PM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 08 - 02:21 PM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 08 - 02:32 PM
Azizi 01 Mar 08 - 05:25 PM
meself 01 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM
Azizi 01 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM
Azizi 01 Mar 08 - 05:42 PM
meself 01 Mar 08 - 05:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Mar 08 - 06:23 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 07:10 PM
Azizi 01 Mar 08 - 07:32 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Mar 08 - 07:37 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 08 - 07:40 PM
Peace 01 Mar 08 - 07:51 PM
artbrooks 01 Mar 08 - 08:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Mar 08 - 08:39 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 08 - 05:33 AM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 09:45 AM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 09:52 AM
Charley Noble 02 Mar 08 - 09:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 08 - 10:05 AM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 10:39 AM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 10:43 AM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 10:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 08 - 10:56 AM
John Hardly 02 Mar 08 - 11:59 AM
meself 02 Mar 08 - 12:58 PM
meself 02 Mar 08 - 01:05 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 08 - 01:18 PM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 01:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 08 - 01:37 PM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 02:12 PM
meself 02 Mar 08 - 02:31 PM
mg 02 Mar 08 - 02:36 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 08 - 02:46 PM
Charley Noble 02 Mar 08 - 03:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 08 - 03:16 PM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 03:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 08 - 03:46 PM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 04:06 PM
Amos 02 Mar 08 - 04:49 PM
gnu 02 Mar 08 - 05:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Mar 08 - 05:33 PM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 06:20 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 08 - 07:22 PM
Azizi 02 Mar 08 - 07:59 PM
Rowan 02 Mar 08 - 11:34 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Mar 08 - 12:45 AM
Paco Rabanne 03 Mar 08 - 03:24 AM
gnu 03 Mar 08 - 04:47 AM
Peace 03 Mar 08 - 09:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Mar 08 - 09:56 AM
Peace 03 Mar 08 - 09:56 AM
Peace 03 Mar 08 - 09:57 AM
meself 03 Mar 08 - 09:58 AM
Azizi 03 Mar 08 - 12:29 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Mar 08 - 07:19 PM
Charley Noble 03 Mar 08 - 09:26 PM
Rowan 03 Mar 08 - 11:02 PM
Azizi 04 Mar 08 - 05:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Mar 08 - 07:55 AM
Billy Weeks 04 Mar 08 - 11:42 AM
Lonesome EJ 04 Mar 08 - 12:35 PM
Wesley S 04 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM
M.Ted 04 Mar 08 - 02:44 PM
Rowan 04 Mar 08 - 04:23 PM
Joe Offer 04 Mar 08 - 05:02 PM
Rowan 04 Mar 08 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,meself 04 Mar 08 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,meself 04 Mar 08 - 06:13 PM
Peace 04 Mar 08 - 06:16 PM
meself 04 Mar 08 - 07:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Mar 08 - 06:00 PM
Peace 05 Mar 08 - 06:09 PM
Rowan 05 Mar 08 - 06:36 PM
meself 05 Mar 08 - 07:26 PM
Bobert 05 Mar 08 - 07:56 PM
Azizi 06 Mar 08 - 02:22 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Mar 08 - 03:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Mar 08 - 07:06 AM
M.Ted 06 Mar 08 - 11:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Mar 08 - 01:25 PM
Rowan 06 Mar 08 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,mg 06 Mar 08 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,meself 06 Mar 08 - 06:15 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Mar 08 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,mg 06 Mar 08 - 07:01 PM
meself 06 Mar 08 - 07:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Mar 08 - 07:14 PM
Rowan 06 Mar 08 - 07:18 PM
meself 06 Mar 08 - 07:33 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Mar 08 - 03:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Mar 08 - 07:27 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Mar 08 - 09:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Mar 08 - 06:38 PM
Peace 07 Mar 08 - 06:40 PM
Azizi 07 Mar 08 - 06:59 PM
Azizi 07 Mar 08 - 07:07 PM
Janie 07 Mar 08 - 08:11 PM
Azizi 07 Mar 08 - 10:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Mar 08 - 02:45 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Mar 08 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,JTT 08 Mar 08 - 05:52 AM
John MacKenzie 08 Mar 08 - 06:51 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Mar 08 - 09:54 AM
John MacKenzie 08 Mar 08 - 09:57 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Mar 08 - 10:31 AM
John MacKenzie 08 Mar 08 - 10:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Mar 08 - 12:04 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 12:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 01:59 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 02:04 PM
Megan L 09 Mar 08 - 02:05 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 02:08 PM
Megan L 09 Mar 08 - 02:12 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 02:15 PM
John MacKenzie 09 Mar 08 - 02:19 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 02:37 PM
meself 09 Mar 08 - 03:07 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Mar 08 - 03:11 PM
John MacKenzie 09 Mar 08 - 04:18 PM
meself 09 Mar 08 - 04:29 PM
Megan L 09 Mar 08 - 04:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Mar 08 - 04:42 PM
John MacKenzie 09 Mar 08 - 04:47 PM
Thompson 09 Mar 08 - 04:47 PM
Azizi 09 Mar 08 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,lox 09 Mar 08 - 08:04 PM
Rowan 09 Mar 08 - 09:20 PM
Azizi 10 Mar 08 - 09:47 AM
Peace 10 Mar 08 - 11:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Mar 08 - 01:59 PM
Rowan 10 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Mar 08 - 06:21 PM
John MacKenzie 10 Mar 08 - 06:30 PM
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:34 AM

I wanted the title of this thread to be "Why I Think Being An Active Poster On Mudcat Is Emotionally Difficult for Me And May Also Be Emotionally Difficult For Other Black People And Other People Of Color Who Have Publicly Acknowledged Their Racial And/Or Ethnic Identity At One Time Or More Than One Time While Posting On This Forum". However, that title was waaay too long to fit in the title box.

My purpose for starting this thread is to provide an opportunity for me {and hopefully others} to explore and address this topic.

I know that on other Mudcat threads I have alluded to or actually come right out and stated my belief that it is difficult being the only Black person and one of only a handful of other people of color who post regularly post on Mudcat {see my preferred title of this thread}. But channelling my [astrological rising sign placement and astrological Mars placement] Virgo list making energy, I've decided to take another approach on this thread and provide a list of why I think this is so.

I hope that others-regardless of your race or ethnicity-will post on this thread, providing feedback and other comments. However, if no one else posts to this thread, I believe that using the bandwidth [or whatever it's called when you add to Mudcat's thread archives] will be of value at least to me since it helps me to talk things out and see my thoughts written down. I believe that posting this list and hopefully reading others comments will not only be cathartic, but it will be a learning experience for me and hopefully also for other folks.

On other Mudcat threads I've asked the question "Why aren't there more Black people who publicly acknowledge their Black racial identity posting on Mudcat?". It would take more research than I have the energy for at this time to find and provide hyperlinks to those threads. But if my recollection is correct, the answers that I usually received for that question were "I don't know" and "There are several people of color posting on Mudcat and there may be more, but they choose not to identify themselves by race."

I'm not asking that same question on this thread, though others may ask it and may provide their answers to it on this thread. Instead, I'm stating my opinion that being an active poster on Mudcat is emotionally challenging and emotionally draining for me and may also be emotionally challenging and emotionally draining for other Black people and other people of color who have publicly acknowledged their racial and/or ethnic identity while posting on this forum. It also bares saying that talking about race is probably also emotionally challenging and emotionally draining for White people. Yet, I think that is so in a different way than for people of color. Be that as it may or may not be, the list that I'm going to post addresses this topic from the perspective of a person of color. However, I'd be very interested in seeing such a list or some comments on this subject from the perspective/s of White people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:45 AM

One question, Azizi - are you an American? In which case, I would normally not consider you black, but of mixed race. I get into trouble with that with other Americans, I know, but I grew up in Africa, where Americans of color were not considered black. And then my question becomes, why do you not acknowledge the white part of your identity? My friends say it's because the white side was the rapists and takers of advantage, but I'd be interested in other takes, if there are any.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:52 AM

Mudcat Is Different For People Of Color...

... and (in no particular order) Mudcat ALSO Is Different For Older Non-Computer People, and Mudcat Is Different for Low-Income People, and Mudcat Is Different for People in Different Countries/Cultures, and Mudcat Is Different for New Arrivals, and Mudcat Is Different for People with Different Belief Systems, and Mudcat Is Different for People with Disabilities, and Mudcat Is Different for EarTrained Musicians, and Mudcat Is Different for Note-Trained Musicians, and Mudcat Is Different for Men, and Mudcat Is Different for Women, and Mudcat Is Different for Young People, and ..... I'm out of time.

One of the delightful things about being a human bean is that we can always, alwasys, always choose our virewpoint-- out place from which to view things. If one chooses to focus one's attention (and others') on any aspect of one's "difference," it IS draining. So I try to learn not to do that, and to focus instead on the commonalities.

It's not an easy lesson to learn, but it is worth attempting and Mudcat is a good place to practice and try it... Mudcat [society] is Mudcat [society] is Mudcat [society]. It is what one chooses to make it. It may not FEEL that way, but it IS that way.

A master at that viewpoint-thing was Corrie tenBoom.

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM

A few things come to mind, Azizi.

1) Most people here are not people of colour (in the sense you've used) and therefore have some difficulty identifying with issues that involve p-o-c.

2) Some are just plain racist, and therefore will never even try to identify.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM

To be perfectly frank with you, I have read many of your postings and have not recognised you as a person of colour. Unless someone expresses their race or colour and I am aware of it, I guess I don't give it much thought.
It seems to me that you are telling people this for some reason...but I can't think of a reason why you should..or should even feel the need to. Why do you need to "publically acknowledge your black racial identity" Only those who know me personally know my colour and race.....I don't mind people knowing but I don't need to declare it publically.
You don't actually state WHY posting on mudcat is emotionally challenging and draining for you and I am not sure that I understand why it should be for you any more than anyone else. It can be draining for us all at times, especially if we are under attack...but I have to say it is usually my own words..or should I say misuse of words which causes attack for me.
Hope you achieve whatever you are trying to with this thread.
Best wishes, Mike.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Beer
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:54 AM

Azizi,
Did you know I was White? I didn't know you were Black until I read this post. And you know what? I don't give a shit if your white, pink, green or yellow. And I'm sure it doesn't to a lot of folks posting on mudcat. Must we identify ourselves by color?   If you are having a problem or problems by some of the members here I am sorry to hear this. I hope for you that a solution can be found to stop it. However if you are posting this just to stir the pot that I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses.
Beer (adrien)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:01 AM

Mudcat is different for veterans (surviors?) of the Great Folk Scare, and for aficianados of Child and Sharp and Percy (and Shakespeare for that matter).

The differences are amplified when we stop talking about music and start talking about context, whether performance context, or cultural context or sources or "authenticity" (or, gawd helpu "ownership")

All of these are great things to talk about of course, and worthwhile listening to others' opinions, but the differences start when the music ends (IMO).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:01 AM

Isn't everyone a person of colour?

I've never considered that other Mudcats might be colourless, though some are patently transparent! [no offence intended, btw]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: pdq
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:02 AM

A computer forum like this: it allows you to be 'what you are' or to be 'something else'. Pick one. It's liberating.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:05 AM

You poor, pathetic baby. You at least prove the liberal assertion that, though no other race seems to need the help, blacks, as a race, need special consideration from EVERYONE just to get by. I never would have thought it. I was raised to believe that notion was unequivocally wrong. But here you are proving it.

Grow up. Try posting here as a conservative. Then come to me with your whining.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:06 AM

You just proved the point Azizi was making, John.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:07 AM

I think Zeez is making a subtle point quite different than the one in the subject line. Mudcat is a good practice sandbox for Life Skills 101. One of the reason people need Life Skills 101 is because all people are different, and Life requires bridging across the differences to acheive common purposes -- like, for example, survival.

Life is difficult for bodies of any species. Life itself is difficult for people who identify themselves as something less than life itself. Learning what and who you are in the right scale of priority is itself a challenge.

Anyway, Azizi, thanks for an interesting post -- correct me, please, if I have misinterpreted your post.


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:07 AM

I've always felt that the internet was a great equalizer - if people wish it to be. An online identity CAN be whatever you wish it to be. There is no great truth online. There is no reason that an online name needs to represent the heritage, sex, religion, politics or even the real personality of the individual. If a person uses a handle such as "ABC" or similar, how would anyone know and why would it matter? If the poster chooses to share portions of their real identity, that becomes their choice and they become responsible for their own emotions and whatever issues it may bring.

Perhaps the answer can only come from the poster. If you choose to identify yourself, then the feelings and experiences that come from that cannot be ascertained by anyone else. Only you can answer why it is difficult, since everyone chooses their own identity online.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:09 AM

Why I Think Mudcat Is Difficult for Black People and Other People Of Color etc.

[For the most part, this list focuses on threads in the BS section and generally excludes from this discussion those music and folk culture threads in which race/ethnicity is provided for demographical purposes]

1.The subject of race is difficult in and of itself.

2.Some people [regardless of their race and ethnicity] feel strongly about the subject of race and ethnicity. I happen to be one who feels strongly about this subject.

3. The subject of race comes up in Mudcat threads when you least expect it. If, for instance, you thought that in this thread the comments would be discussing politics like in this thread-
thread.cfm?threadid=108897&messages=49 "BS: Hillary Blows a Fuse"-the subject of race suddenly becomes part of the mix.

4.If you come to Mudcat to relax, and/or to engage in serious, or semi-serious, or light hearted conversation/discussion on subjects that don't have anything to do with race, when the subject of race comes up in a thread, if you are Black and/or a person who belongs to another racial or ethnic group that is lumped into the catch all category of "person of color", there goes your relaxation time. You now have choices to make and there are a number of consequences to those choices-a}You can ignore the comments and leave that thread; b} You can ignore the comments and continue posting about other things on that thread c} You can respond to those comments sharing your point of view at length or briefly, and then continue to do so if that poster and/or others continue discussing the subject of race; d} You can respond to those comments on race one time and then continue posting to that thread but limit your comments to the specific topic of that thread; e} You can private message the posters who posted to that thread and respond privately respond to the comments about race that they made on that thread; f} You can start a new thread on the subject of race;
g} you can do any combination of these thingst

5. If you are a person of color and you respond to issues of race or raise the issue of race in a thread, you do so with the recognition that no other person of color will also post to this thread. I believe that it is beneficial to know that there are other people who have your back {who will support the positions that you make on a specific topic. Having support is important as it helps you feel more confident about "going out there" with emotionally difficult statements and positions. And while there is no doubt that often there are some Mudcatters who usually lend their support to my statements about race/racial relations in the USA and elsewhere, it's not the same as having corroborating statements and statements that expand the statements that I've made from other people of color. For example, I've read a number of diaries from people of color on the political blog dailykos in which the diarist talks about her or his experiences with race and racism in the United States. What impresses me is that in the comment section of those diaries {along with comments from people who acknowledge that they are White}, there are always a number of other people of color-Latino American, Black American, Asian American, and Native American- who state their agreement with the diarist and who share their own experiences about being a person of color in a majority White nation. Unfortunately, because Mudcat has so few people of color [who publicly identify themselves etc see my preferred title] that doesn't happen. So, in this regard, when I raise these issues or respond to them when they are raised by others {and it seems to me that issues of race are raised a lot in Mudcat BS threads}, in terms of experiential first hand sharing, I'm out here all by my lone self.
        
6. If you are a person of color on Mudcat, and if race matters to you-as it does to me for a myrid number of reasons most of which are not of my choosing-when you start conversations about race or when you respond to comments that other Mudcat members and guests {who given this forums racial breakdown, the chances are 99.99% that that member or guest will be White}, you know [or believe from past experience] that some folks will label you as a person who is only or mainly interested in race. The response I believe that I receive at these times is "There she goes again." That kind of response is off-putting to me as I have shown by my postings to both the music and BS threads that I'm interested in quite a few other topics on Mudcat other than the subject of race. Mudcat is difficult for me and perhaps for other people of color because I just want to be a member of this community without regard to my race or ethnicity yet I can not be true to myself if I don't respond to comments about race when I feel the need to do so. Sometimes my comments may be seeking clarificiation about what another poster/s meant by their statements. Sometimes my comments may be corroborative from my personal perspective. At other times, my comments may be sharing information to correct what I consider to be misstatements made by other posters. And sometimes my comments may be all of that and more. Sometimes I feel blindsided by comments made about race on Mudcat threads that I didn't think were going to be about race.

7. Moving from discussing race in the BS threads to the music/folk culture threads-If you are a person of color-and particularly a Black person-the use of the n word and other [exaggerated?} Black American dialect that appears in 19th century and earlier African Americn secular and religious songs, is very off-putting. I had to learn to ignore these things in order to continue participating in those threads or in the rest of Mudcat. I did so and have learned a lot from those threads and from other Mudcat threads. But there's no doubt in my mind that the use of the n-word and Black American slavery dialect in Mudcat threads about spirituals and secular slave songs is a real turn off to many Black people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:11 AM

I just posted my list to this thread, and have not had an opportunity to read the comments that others have posted.

I will read them now.

Thank you in advance for your comments to this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:12 AM

Depends on your definition of you, and not other folks definition of you.
If everything you do is based in your racial identity then you are always going to start off with a bias.
I am a Scot, I am white, I am part Irish, I like good malt whisky, I own a Martin D28. None of these things define WHO I am, they MAY say something about WHAT I am.
I leave it to others to make what they will of me, and I don't tell them what I think, they should think about me.
I have no difficulties in posting on Mudcat as a minority, and neither should anybody else.

Giok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:15 AM

"I am a Scot, I am white, I am part Irish, I like good malt whisky, I own a Martin D28."

Any chance one of us was adopted at birth? (Thing is, I like good malt whisky, but it don't like me.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: pdq
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:19 AM

WFDU - Ron Olesko and I said, essentially, the same thing. He's just a lot more articulate than me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:21 AM

"He's just a lot more articulate than me."

Oh, yeah, USE big words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: pdq
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:25 AM

Gee, I don't fell wanted any more. Think I'll go feed my horned toad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Kweku
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:28 AM

Frankly Azizi, it is difficult to understand what you are trying to carry across. But I guess it has to do with one or two incidences you might have experienced in the course of being a Mudcatter all these years.

For me Mudcat is a Complete Community, that is, it is made up of all characters and definitely, in this world you can never dodge the arrows of racism or persecution.

But strangely, I am beginning to wonder how many people on Mudcat know my true identity, because just as Georgiansilver said if you don't tell people your background it would be quite difficult for them to know what colour or race you belong to. There has been times I have posted to certain threads and expected to be challenged or abused but that has never happen.

So alll that I can say is that, Mudcat is a great place to be and of course Mudcat tends to tilt towards Western music, much to my disappointment but in a democratic dispensation where the majority rules why weary myself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:31 AM

Can I have the Martin? I'll gioive you good malt whiskey in exchange.

Azizi, confronting othe racism of the nineteenth century as it is embedded in folks songs is a real problem not only for people with brown or balck skin, but also for people of white skin. It is not comfortable to consider that your great-great-grandparents might have been atrocious abusers of human beings. It is not comfortable, I am sure, to think your great-great-great grandparents were atrociously abused.

However, I do not think human bestiality as such is a white or black issue. If you were to collect and translate the songs sung by the Fan people as they existed when du Chaillu first visited among them, they would probably include a celebration of killing and eating enemy tribes. This is not much of an issue here, because those songs are lost (AFAIK), but it is not comfortable to think that any of us could easily have those histories in our DNA.

We all have a limbic, lizard-like part to our brains, I think, which under certain conditions can make brutal animals out of any of us. We also have forebrains and analytical abilities to manage things into better shape with. If my ancestors were brutal, or if they were brutalized, it is no reflection on what I have chosen to do with my time on the world. You are not bound by your protoplasm.

Where do we go from here?


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:34 AM

This page is 'white', the typing is 'black'.

I'm neither of these colours, is anyone?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:36 AM

Probably not, but that isn't the question.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:40 AM

If one thinks it's difficult to be a person of color (or colour) at the Mudcat, try being one of a handful of conservative posters.
If race has been injected into Mudcat discussions, it only reflects the world beyond, alto', imho, it is a lot less pervasive here.
Some comments about being who or what you want to be on the internet needs commenting on. It is difficult to know what are legitimate comments when one hides behind a made-up persona. Readers need to know how to interpret and respond to postings. I sure you would respond differently to my comments if I posed as a 19 year old high school dropout than the old fart I really am. [or maybe I'm a nineteen year old posing as a nearly 70 year old...chuckle, chuckle]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:41 AM

I believe that #5, #6 and #7 of my list responds to the majority of the questions and comments that I have received thus far in this thread. I therefore will not repeat these points, but will say several things about those points-

I reference my race and other people's race on Mudcat for demographical purposes in the folkorist use of that phrase.

**

I share my perspective as an African American person and as an African American woman when I believe that is pertinent to the subject that is being discussed and/or expanding on the subject matter being discussed. If others do not see that as being pertinent or adding a relevant and/or interesting layer to that conversation, then so be it. I have to be true to myself.

**

When I write on Mudcat, I recognize that thete are a number of people I am writing to- a} a specific individual who I may be responding to and to whom I mention by name; b} the other persons who have posted to that thread; c} persons who may be lurking at that time on that thread {those who reading the conversation but who are not participating in that conversation}; and d} persons who may read that thread in the future.

I have learned and continue to learn from current and archived Mudcat threads on race and on other subjects. I believe that Mudcat threads on race provide opportunities for people to learn from each other. When I start threads on race and on other subjects, I am mindful that reading Mudcat threads may be a learning experience for others now, and years from now. So, I am not writing to [or for] those who have no desire to learn about this subject or those who don't need to learn about this subject.

**
Some people wrote that "Mudcat is different for". My title is "Mudcat is difficult for. I don't think that these words mean the same thing.

**

The definition of Black that I use is the one that is used by people in the United States. I agree that many Black people are mixed race, meaning that many of us have some White ancestry. I should emphasize that I am talking about a social definition of race and not a biological definition of race. I choose not to elaborate any further on that definition of race in this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:42 AM

?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Teribus
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:46 AM

"Try posting here as a conservative. Then come to me with your whining." - John Hardly

Priceless, absolutely priceless, thanks John that gave me what must be the contender for best laugh of February to-date.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:47 AM

I am way too slow a typist for the number of opinions I have. I will keep reading and try to compose some later.

I will only ask, Azizi, if there is some implication in your post that it is 'difficult' here because of the tone of opinions of others? That is, do you feel that when any issue of race or ethnicity is broached, others 'get it wrong'?
   Or are you simply saying that being practically alone in your ethnicity here, you feel at a disadvantage in posting because the very fact OF your ethnicity will be factored in unfairly by others responding?

I don't know that I phrased that well, but it is as hard to reply to you as it must be for you to raise the subject.

**27 more paragraphs swirling in my head**


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:47 AM

Different is indeed not exactly the same as difficult, but then difference can lead to difficulty, especially when he or she who is different is convinced that said difference engenders difficulty. Maybe. Maybe not. Thanks for the correction though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: dwditty
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:51 AM

As open minded as I like to think I am, in point of fact I have no idea what it is to be a person of color. Well, there was one time when I was in a training class outside of Atlanta years ago. A black classmate and I went to a pub for a beer and a bite to eat. While we were waiting for our food, John said, "Look around. I am the only black person in this place. How do you think that makes me feel?" I thought for a moment, looking around, and replied, "I am the only white guy sitting with a black person. How do you think that makes ME feel?" We have been friends ever since.

Yesterday, I attended a program in New Haven, CT in which the mostly white New Haven Chorale joined with the all black Heritage Choir for a performance of readings and spirituals in celebration of Black History Month. The readings were powerful - MLK, a letter written by a slave about the 4th of July, letters on Amistad, etc. As I looked around, I could not help but think that some thought of the program as so much pot-stirring. It wasn't. It also wasn't, to use John Hardly's word, whinning, although I do agree that there is far too much whinning across any line you care to draw....color, veteran status, folk musician, etc.

dw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:59 AM

For the most part the mainstream American experience is still centered in a white/Anglo world. But this is shifting, as reflected in the language. The presence of "signifying" language was for a long time a sly sub-text in mainstream media, unnoticed and not understood by most white viewers/listeners. I think a lot of that is much more open now. Perhaps not mainstream yet, but not hidden, either.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:59 AM

(I see several others added while I was typing...durn, it's hard to keep up!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:04 AM

Let me know if any of you are or even know a person without prejudice. Our past experience combines with our senses to tell us how to treat someone. Now perhaps and hopefully the ones we "learned" without experience we unlearn but we still might be left with some residual prejudice. Sometimes we're also just stupid and for some reason or another we still have a flash of negative feelings before letting thinking and rational being takeover.

Example I'm ashamed of...............There is a group of people whose food I don't care for but has ingredients that tend to come through the pores of the skin. Now I have a lot of Italian in me and should be familiar with that concept...........But I once spent some time in close proximity of this other group and they were just great folks.....except for the gawdamn food and the body odor that came along with it. This was ridiculous and I knew it so I did my best to continually overcome this stupidass prejudice. I still do......but if you tell me here that you're _______________ I can't help but let that come into play, no matter how briefly. I mean my computer doesn't have a smellochip.

On the other end consider that we are all 98% alike as human beings and yet we focus, often stridently, on the other 2%. That's okay and natural. Part of the 98% is the desire to be unique. The lens we use to see ourselves is rarely the same as the ones others use to view us and hence we're anxious to tell our tales. Often we're born with some of these things, others we take on as we age or grow.

We know this don't we? Like other topics it is one we like to beat ourselves with occasionally.   As a group we're pontificators and talkers and out in 3D we're often seen as a "Group" to be prejudiced against or indeed to hate. Perhaps we all need to have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up.

"There is only what is; what should be never existed."
    .......Leonard A Schneider, Stand-Up Philosopher


Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:08 AM

Goes by quickly doesn't it Bill? LOL......This topic and ones like it will grab us everytime............ah well...............

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:18 AM

Bill,

Here are my responses to the questions that you asked 25 Feb 08 - 10:47 AM post:

I believe that sometimes "when any issue of race or ethnicity is broached, some others may 'get it wrong'" . Some Mudcat members and guests-perhaps moreso those who live outside of the United States and are unfamiliar with our colloquial expressions may not understand those expressions and the cultural baggage they carry. For instance, when questions were asked about the Don Imus' flap as a result of his nappy head 'hos statement}. In those instances, people are asking for clarification and information. But there are other instance, such as in the Mudcat thread to which I have already provided an hyperlink, I think people "get it wrong". Of course, that is my opinion, and opinions certainly may differ. But at that point, I felt that I had to chose to respond or to "play pass it". I chose to respond publicly and have since also responded to private messages that I received from those posters to whon I responded publicly.

and

I am also saying that being practically alone in my race/ethnicity* I feel at a disadvantage in posting because it is unlikely that I will have anyone else who shares my race/ethnicity to corroborate and/or expand on the statements that I have made.

While it "is possible that the very fact OF [my] ethnicity will be factored in unfairly by others responding", that is not my point.

*I recognize that there are a number of different ethnicities [sub-groups] among African Americans- for instance Gullah people are one ethnicity; Louisiana Creoles are another; persons of Caribbean descent are another. And if Quarcoo relocated to the United States he would be considered-by most others if not by himself-as an African American of Ghanaian [more specifically of Akan? or Ewe? etnicitity]. However, usually, when I use the phrase "ethnicity" in speaking of people of color I mean people of Latino {Hispanic} descent-who according to the USA, can be of any race, but usually in this "people of color" context aren't considered to be White.

-snip-

With regard to other comments that have been made on this thread, let me reiterate that I am using the USA social definition of race/ethnicity and not the social definition from other countries and also not any biological definition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:20 AM

spaw brought it up, so I will post this, and make one comment.


Prej"u*dice (?), n. [F. préjudice, L. praejudicium; prae before + judicium judgment. See Prejudicate, Judicial.]

1. Foresight. [Obs.]
Naught might hinder his quick prejudize. Spenser.


2. An opinion or judgment formed without due examination; prejudgment; a leaning toward one side of a question from other considerations than those belonging to it; an unreasonable predilection for, or objection against, anything; especially, an opinion or leaning adverse to anything, without just grounds, or before sufficient knowledge.


Though often misled by prejudice and passion, he was emphatically an honest man. Macaulay.


3. (Law) A bias on the part of judge, juror, or witness which interferes with fairness of judgment

-----------------------------------------------------------

comment: I have some opinions which others 'might' disagree with, but I have strived for 50 years, ever since I became aware of what prejudice and racial inequities were about, to acquire knowlege and apply fair and considered opinions to such issues.
So, am I 'prejudiced' in the strict sense of the word? Can anyone HAVE a critical opinion regarding a sensitive racial/ethnic issue like immigration or color without it being 'prejudiced'?
My whole philosophy is based on it being possible, so anything I say further must be understood in that light.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:25 AM

Yes, 'spaw...it goes by VERY fast. I would prefer to do this face-to-face, with better timing and body language, but since it isn't possible, I'll do my best...even though I have to run to the store soon, and do some work in my shop later...and be gone to Baltimore half of tomorrow...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:38 AM

"I am also saying that being practically alone in my race/ethnicity* I feel at a disadvantage in posting because it is unlikely that I will have anyone else who shares my race/ethnicity to corroborate and/or expand on the statements that I have made."

   That is, of course, a built-in issue, since you ARE practically the only black person posting regularly, but I would hope that everyone would factor that in. When I watch TV, I see that that there is not 100% agreement among blacks on issues. Al Sharpton does no agree with Clarence Thomas on everything...nor should he! But if either Sharpton or Thomas were the only black poster in Mudcat, I know *I* would not feel constrained to agree with either of them because of their position...even though I could not possibly appreciate their life or viewpoint personally.

You see? It takes an enormous amount of disclaimers and juggling of words, just to approach some of the meat of the discussion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:38 AM

"I am also saying that being practically alone in my race/ethnicity* I feel at a disadvantage in posting because it is unlikely that I will have anyone else who shares my race/ethnicity to corroborate and/or expand on the statements that I have made."

Being basically an awkward bastard by nature, it occurred to me what a pain in the ass it would be, if there was another declared person of colour posting on Mudcat, and they didn't agree with you!

G ¦¬]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:40 AM

............damn Bill.......(:<)).........LOL......I hate you.....................

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:45 AM

You just hate me because I'm uhhhh...a colorless philosopher?

Now...I have to go do those errands...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:46 AM

Azizi,

Some people wrote that "Mudcat is different for". My title is "Mudcat is difficult for. I don't think that these words mean the same thing.



I used the word DIFFERENT because IMO it is a more useful way to look at the topic-- that is, if what you are looking for is a way to experience Mudcat more positively yourself. If you are, please take another look at my post above.

One could also use, instead, the word HARD. That gets into HARDER and IMO it's hard(er)(est) for each of us from our own view of our own difference. Again, see my post above.

I'm not saying that your topic as worded isn't good/useful/of interest, or that I didn't understand it... I understand it all too well, and OF COURSE you're right, sadly. I AM saying that in an international forum where all oppressions and differences co-exist, and where each of us sees them differently, see my post above.

Mudcat is different for literalists, too.

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bee
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:53 AM

I think most people who look white don't understand or perceive the pervasive effect of growing up black in a culture that includes racism. That doesn't make them racist themselves, or mean they are insensitive (though some certainly are), but I think it accounts for some of the responses Azizi gets when she brings up the subject of race.

There is racism in Canada, but from my limited experience, it is not on the same level as racism in parts of the US. Part of my experience comes from a childhood year (1957-58) of going to school and living in Florida. My school was segregated. Restaurants, bathrooms, drinking fountains, restaurants were segregated. My aunt had a Black maid that she was perpetually cranky with. My Dad was warned that he would be fired from his construction job if he persisted in carpooling with some black co-workers. There were Black shantytowns on the edge of the city.

You might say, well, that was a long time ago, but it isn't really, when you consider most children of that era are still alive. My aunt and many cousins are still there. I see them when they come to visit, and they often casually say things so racist I frankly find it shocking, as does the rest of my family. I stopped speaking to one cousin's old Fla. family husband, as his stated views on race are abhorrent. They are unapologetically lower middle class racists and they do not perceive their views to be minority in their culture.

I spent most of the years between 1972 and 2000 working with kids in a predominantly black urban community in Nova Scotia. Racism exists here, but it is usually less overt. Not always. I've seen a young man who never did a dishonest or cruel thing in his life beaten within an inch of his life by police, an uncommon incident, but it was racially motivated. Shopping with Black friends, I've been pointedly followed by store security, almost every time. I've heard an old nun teacher opine that a six year old Black girl, who was lively and happy, would most likely be a prostitute when she grew up - this despite the fact that her family were all church-going, decent, working people. I've laughed ruefully with a Black mother of six sons, all of them short, when yet another class photo came out with her short son in the back row, barely visible.

When you grow up Black in North America, experiencing subtle and not so subtle racism is a matter of fact. You can't escape it. It doesn't matter how many nice, non-racist white people you interact with, because you can't know when you will next be slapped in the face with another example of blatant or subtle racism. It means you are always waiting for it to happen, bracing yourself for the hurtful slur, the subtle rejection, or the overt act. That so many Black citizens learn to look beyond this in order to interact culturally, socially and practically with White people, hoping for the best possible relationships, is in my opinion courageous and encouraging.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:59 AM

Beautiful post, Bee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:03 PM

Mudcat is a good practice sandbox for Life Skills 101. One of the reason people need Life Skills 101 is because all people are different, and Life requires bridging across the differences to acheive common purposes -- like, for example, survival.
-Amos

I agree with this point.

However, one of the points I was trying to make is that sometimes I come to Mudcat to discuss political subjects and other subjects and {but} find that race has been introduced into a particular topic that I didn't think would be about race. I'm forewarned when I read a thread whose topic is about race. But when the topic is something like "Hillary [Clinton] Blows A Fuse", it seems more likely to me that the subject of race-with all its challenging, energy draining permutations-would not be included as part of that discussion. It's true that I can ignore that topic. But if I do so I know that it is unlikely that anybody else who is Black will address the points that were made and in my opinion should be addressed. And there have been threads that I've opened on race where posters have written something to the effect "I wonder what Azizi has to say about this". I don't like this WWAS {what would Azizi say} point of view, and sometimes I don't even post to what I call "Black threads". At least I say that I'm not going to post to them, but sometimes end up doing so because I feel that somebody Black should provide a Black perspective. And-unfortunately-I'm usually in a position of "if not me, then who?"

So, yes, these are Life 101 moments. But in some ways it's like being confronted with pop quizzes when you least expect them.

And I suppose that being one of less than a handful of [publicly acknowledged] Black people on Mudcat is similar in some ways to being one of the small group of Mudcat posters who are Republican.

To all the Republicans on Mudcat who hold down the fort and add their voice/s in this forum made of of mostly liberal {if not lefty} folkies, in that regard if not in any other besides our shared humaness, you have my sincere respect and sympathy.

And I say all of this in a not at all whining voice.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:06 PM

Azizi, I try to stand up for what's right and not what's expedient. If I did the latter I wouldn't be living and working in Idaho (as you know). To me, everyone is red because that's what we all are inside (along with some other colors as well).

A drop of my blood placed next to yours will show no difference. Not even if it's examined microscopically (unless you have sickle cell, and even then it's only statistically more likely, not positive proof). Not in blood type, not until you get to the genetic level and maybe not even then.

Why would I care? Why should I care? You and your ancestors experienced things me and my ancestors did not, and vice-versa. Not all of them on either side were nice.

You're Azizi. I'm not. That makes it interesting for me to talk with you, to learn your ideas, to learn your experiences. I grew up with too many people of color to hate or even dislike someone because of their skin. Nope, there are some people whom I dislike because I find their words and/or actions to be wrong -- morally, ethically, or in some other way wrong.

Right now I'm experiencing much less patience with these people, probably because I've messed up my left knee and I'm in pain. But then again, maybe I'm just starting to act my age.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bert
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:13 PM

When you first posted Azizi, I didn't know or care what color you were.

Now that I know, I would like to say that I still don't care, but that is not the truth. I care very much that you are here. You are a great asset to Mudcat and I wish that there were more people like you here. I love your postings and really treasure the childrens songs that you post.

We need more collectors of songs. We need more people from different backgrounds. We need more people from different cultures.

It is difficult for me to feel the 'race' issue in America as I was raised in England. I can understand the issues but can only see them as an outsider. Personally, it doesn't matter to me what color a person is.

When I was small I never even saw a black person. When I was a teenager a black man came to live with our family and stayed for two years. He became a favourite uncle. So I know that the color of one's skin doesn't have anything to do with what a person is like.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:25 PM

...it occurred to me what a pain in the ass it would be, if there was another declared person of colour posting on Mudcat, and they didn't agree with you!
-John 'Giok' MacKenzie

John,

You may not have noticed Quarcoo's post to this thread on
25 Feb 08 - 10:28 AM.

My reading of Quarcoo's post was that it didn't agree with me. That's okay with me. In my Mudcat posts that address subjects of race, I usually try to emphasize the point that I am speaking for myself and not for all the African Americans or other Black people in the world. If that wasn't clear from my posts on this thread thus far, let me make that emphasis clear.

Also, fwiw, Quarcoo will confirm that he came to Mudcat as a result of first exchanging comments with me on my Cocojams website. I encouraged Quarcoo to visit and to join Mudcat. And I am glad that he did. I don't want any Yes brothas or Yes sistahs although there's no doubt that it would be nice to have some brothas and sistahs* on Mudcat who agreed with me sometimes about points that I made about race. And it would be good if some brothas and sistahs were to take the slack sometimes and I serve the role of back up support.

All this to say that regardless of whether they agree with me or not, I hope Mudcat will eventually have more people who acknowledge their race/ethnicity and share their perspectives about race/ethnicity when they feel it is pertinent.

Let me also say that I have personally tried to encourage other Black people to visit and post on Mudcat, but unfortunately, some haven't come, and those who have come haven't stayed. So at this time I want to give a shout out to Quarcoo and say thanks for seeing the value of this forum and sharing your voice with us.

* Brotha and sistah is used here in its African American colloquial form as a Black man and a Black woman.

Perhaps this goes without saying-but maybe not-and so I will say it now-there are times when I have found that I have much more in common with some non-Black individuals than with some Black individuals. Also, love knows no color.

But that's not the point of this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM

First thing to state, while I can empathize with a person of color in this society (meaning the US, not necessarily the international Mudcat community), I have no personal experience as a person of color.

But I have been one of a very, very small handful of white people at a James Brown concert in Milwaukee in the '60s. I've been the token white in a black owned and managed business (in the early '70s). I've eaten meals at restaurants where all the other patrons (and wait staff) were people of color.

I grew up in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin metropolitan area, but in neighborhoods that were primarily (but not entirely) white. From high school on, I had a substantial number of non-white classmates. I now live in a primarily white state -- New Hampshire -- and just for reasons of proximity, I have more friends and acquaintances who are Hispanic or have Native American (I really like the Canadian term "First Nations") ancestry rather than African-American (or Asian or Near Eastern, for that matter). New Hampshire does have substantial ethnic diversity among Caucasians -- and, believe me, Azizi, white people (who are a pretty diverse group in themselves) can have just as many prejudices or preconceived notions about other groups of white people as they can about people of color. (Maybe more.)

It doesn't do to generalize about anyone. There are plenty of African Americans whose families (or themselves) have emigrated from Africa and are not the descendents of the American slave system. There are white people, such as my family (which emigrated from Germany in the 1850s-1870s) who are not descended from slave holders or even from a society which owned slaves.

We here at Mudcat are bound by a common interest in Anglophone folk songs, traditional songs/chants developed to make work easier (whether on shipboard or in textile work or in plantation fields), blues, and acoustic pop and singer-songwriter songs as well as instrumental music out of these cultures and folklore.

If there are fewer people of color at Mudcat, I think it is more likely because there are fewer people of color interested in white folk music (and in sea shanties, for example, even though there is a strong black influence on shanties) than there are white people interested in the music that have come out of non-white traditions.

Just some of my observations.

Linn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:30 PM

Wasn't aware that Quarcoo was "Of color" Azizi.
G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Megan L
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:37 PM

In this life if you feel you have been dealt a shitty hand of cards you can do one of two things:

Sit there and greet about poor me how bad everything is for me.

Or get of yer backside and do yer damndest to be the very best you ye kin be.

Ahm tired. Ahm Auld and ahm grumpy as hell so tay ooto ma road "This bitch bites"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Beer
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:39 PM

In the early 60's I went to a "Black/White" integrated high school in Nova Scotia. It was the first time for this movement and it was the best thing to ever have taken place. I made friends quickly and they still are my best friend today.

Spaw. I love your posts. You have a way of making me laugh and making me think real hard about what you are also really saying. Like Azizi, Peace, and so many others it's a pleasure knowing you all.
Beer (adrien)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:45 PM

"Try posting here as a conservative. Then come to me with your whining." - John Hardly

Political opinions are a matter of personal choice, influenced by life experience. Not quite the same thing as dealing with "race".
...................................

Recognising that that we have some significant difference from the people surrounding us can mean facing a dilemma. (By "significant" I don't mean necessarily important in itself, but as marking us out in a way that can be seen as important). We can ignore it as irrelevant until it become, which is liable to be interpreted as secretive or even as dishonest or cowardly. Or we can make a point of drawing attention to it, even when it's not immediately relevant, which is liable to get interpreted as obsessive.

There are internet forums in which virtually everyone contributing was male, and assumed to be male unless they specifically indicate they are not I can imagine a women posting to such a forum would come up against analogous difficulties to those mentioned by Azizi. As it is that doesn't arise, and there is no such assumption. I've no idea what proportion of us are male or female, just that there are a lot of both kind.

I'd like it better if the Mudcat was more like that when it came to "race", and those kind of difficulties didn't arise. I very much value Azizi's contribution, including the implicit reminder that we are a bit monochromatic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:55 PM

My dear Azizi, you are trying to saw sawdust.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: beardedbruce
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:55 PM

"To all the Republicans on Mudcat who hold down the fort and add their voice/s in this forum made of of mostly liberal {if not lefty} folkies, in that regard if not in any other besides our shared humaness, you have my sincere respect and sympathy."


Thanks.

But if you were subjected to the comments that are acceptable here to be made about conservatives in general and Republicans specifically, I think a few more people might come to your defense.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 12:58 PM

Azizi and I have gone back and forth on the "race" issue before - simply stated, I don't believe that there is such a thing as different races, and I find the identification of individuals of primarily European origin as "white", as though there was some purity associated with the color and with them, as abhorrent. I think that the "one drop rule" is especially sickening. At the same time, I appreciate that the life experiences of individuals with ancestry derived from African slaves has been different from those of us in the US with different backgrounds. If she (and others) prefer to call this social/ethnic group a different race, so be it. I accept that this is the majority opinion, but I reserve the right to disagree.

As for Mudcat being difficult for people of color? Perhaps so. There are people here whose backs go up immediately when the subject of the English in Ireland is raised and others who tend to go ballistic in the political threads. Azizi (I have gathered from other threads about other topics) strongly identifies with the socio-ethnic group commonly referred to as "African-American", and that is her choice and certainly her privilege. (I don't want to use the term "Afro-centric", because that has several meanings, and I really don't know if any of them truly refer to her.) At the same time, I think she needs to accept that discussions here cover a very wide range of topics, and references to race are not directed to her and she does not have to address them unless she wants to. She is not the designated Mudcat spokesperson for African-Americans!

Azizi may or may not be the only Black person here. Leechong may be the only Chinese national and Liz the Squeak may be the only tax collector. Joe Offer may be the only retired snoop and I may be the only retired Army officer. So what? We are all individuals and we are all here because, for one reason or another, we enjoy the Mudcat community and find it has something to offer to us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:00 PM

I think that the main reason that people of color (why does that term sound like something from the 19th Century?) don't come to Mudcat is that this forum is primarily based on the mutual interest of its participants in the subject of Folk and Traditional American and British Music Forms. Except for Blues Music, I don't get the impression that traditional music forms are of interest to the black community, nor are they being handed down in the culture. Maybe this is a glaring example of prejudcice on my part, and I welcome an opposing pov. Were this an exclusively Blues oriented forum, I believe the attendance of blacks would be stronger, and were it a jazz forum, stronger still, at least among middle-aged black people.

Now, as for the loneliness of Azizi as the single torch-bearer for a black point of view here, I think it must be very difficult, and I have seen her efforts in this regard, and admired her for them. Prejudice is a recurring theme in our conversations here, and while I don't always agree with her, Azizi has been an astute advocate. And she's mad no secret of her race, so I really question those who calim not to be aware of it. They are apparently being disingenuous, or else not paying attention.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:01 PM

wow. Some kind of personal best for typos in the above comment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:02 PM

"Were this an exclusively Blues oriented forum, I believe the attendance of blacks would be stronger, and were it a jazz forum, stronger still, at least among middle-aged black people."

Tweed might have the 'answer' for that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:16 PM

One thing about the expression "people of colo(u)r" is that it does serve to indicate whether the person posting is North American or not.

While the emphasis of musical discussion here tends to be North American music and music from the British Isles (not at all the same as "British Music"), together with other Anglophone communities round the world, its by no means restricted to that.

There are a myriad varieties of other great folk music traditions around the world, and they all have a place here. (And most of them have been produced by "people of colour", a category which includes by far the bulk of the human race.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:37 PM

No argument about what a rich tradition folk music enjoys around the world, McG, and whether or not they have a place here. But so far I've seen no threads on "The Sumatran Folk Tradition", while there have been about twenty on Whiskey in the Jar. Now I would think many of us might be interested in Sumatran Folk music, but at present there seems to be a dearth of Sumatrans and a plentitude of Caledonians. Mudcat is certainly inclusive of almost any tradition. Its the willing participants that are lacking.

BTW, no insult intended by including Ireland in the category British Music. I was thinking of the British Isles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,Appaloosa Lady
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:47 PM

Dear Azizi,

I very often read (and enjoy) your posts, because there is a great deal to learn from them.

I find you a very kind, thoughtful and interesting person. You were the only one who took the trouble to tell me how to put links into Mudcat, a long while back now, something which I appreciated very much, then you came over to message me, and again, your kindness shone through in your words.

For me it is your spirit, Azizi, which gives you your colour, and that colour shines out!

So please, never stop posting, thinking, questioning or informing us, no matter how difficult it may be for you at times, because many of us are 'out here' reading what you write.

We all need to look at things from the point of view of others, to understand more clearly and more wisely.

You help us to do that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:48 PM

Funny you should mention that Lonesome EJ - there's a film out on DVD called Sumatran Folk Cinema.

And going by this trailer on YouTube it looks bloody brilliant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 01:51 PM

artbrooks said:" -Azizi (I have gathered from other threads about other topics) strongly identifies with the socio-ethnic group commonly referred to as "African-American", and that is her choice and certainly her privilege. --"

it isn't a choice. It is an identity you are born into. Nobody can opt out. Being an "African-American" is thrust upon you. That's the difference. I can choose the social and political issues that I want to fight about, and can move on to whatever interests me, but, try as she might, Azizi is tied to that issue, for the duration.

As with every one of us, however, she does have a some choice in how she addresses the issue and that choice, ultimately, is the the true reflection of a person's character.

Azizi has, for some reason, chosen to spend a lot of time here at Mudcat--she is a folklorist, a collector, a teacher, and a performer, and she has given to us, honestly and unstintingly, from her discipline in all of those areas. She has invested a lot here, and for that reason, there is a lot to be learned from every thread that she's contributed to--and it is positive stuff, about the folklore/folk music related stuff that Mudcat is really about.

Its time to listen to what she has to say, not only because it is honest and true, but because she is one of the very best of us, and she has invested more than most in making this a better community-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 02:05 PM

M.Ted, I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make - or perhaps I wasn't being as clear as I could have been. I know and have known many Black Americans (or African-Americans). Many identify themselves more as folkdancers, or soldiers, or New Mexicans, or whatever than by their "race".   That may be the identity that she chooses - that is "thrust upon her" as you put it - but she is not "tied to the issue" unless she wants to be.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Grab
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 02:08 PM

Re discussion of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, the competition is a mixed-race man who is a skin colour commonly called "black" in the US. There are clear indications of black American voters choosing this man overwhelmingly in favour of other candidates - is this not worth mentioning? Hillary has higher popularity amongst women, and I wouldn't expect that mentioning this would be a feminist issue.

I'm not sure about the "there she goes again" - I hope people wouldn't say that, because your posts are usually interesting. (I say "usually" - find me someone who's *always* interesting and I'll shoot them for being annoying. ;-) However, isn't it fair to say that your major interest is in Afro-American culture, and particularly in the increased role that you think African culture should play in that? After all, you've spent years researching African culture, you've created a job for yourself in publicising and teaching African culture to Afro-Americans, and you've done a awful lot of investigation into Afro-American traditions and the connections to African traditions.

In the same way, as a long-term engineer and general geek, my thinking is based on sceptical rationalism: if you can't see it happen then it doesn't work like that, and if you can see it happen then you need to figure why. Like you with race, I can find it hard to avoid responding to creationists and homeopathy fans. I've not had a "what would Grab say" moment, probably cos I'm not that prolific here and there are other more vocal people with that viewpoint. But I've seen similar questions for Wolfgang and JohnInKansas, and Clinton Hammond back in the day.

Online, no-one can see the colour of your skin. So how we're known is by the issues that define us, and those are expressed by the threads we start and the responses we post to other people. For you, that defining issue clearly is African-ness and African-American-ness, and really there *isn't* anyone else on Mudcat who makes that as large a part of their conversations. So I'm glad you've been around to talk to and learn stuff off. But I think you shouldn't then be surprised that people have learnt what your major interests are, right?

Graham.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 03:08 PM

I understand what you're saying perfectly well, artbrooks. What I don't understand is, why are you making that point in the first place?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM

If I was born with the skin color referred to as "black", I would not appreciate having the asinine term "African-American" thrust upon me. If I did accept that nomenclature, I would expect the treatment that comes with walking around the world with a chip on my shoulder.

Race may not be a choice, but in 21st century America, racial politics is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 03:42 PM

Been thinking while I went to store & post office.

Almost 30 years ago, at an open stage in Bethesda MD., there was ONE semi-regular black attendee..a nice guy who played Scruggs-style Bluegrass banjo.

At a music camp my wife goes to in W. Virginia each Summer, there are very few black attendees...one of whom was Rhiannon Giddens of The Carolina Chocolatedrops She was a wonderful performer and amazingly well informed person. ...and I have since met the other two, who were the only black attendees at the concert for Pete, Peggy & Mike Seeger last fall. They are outstanding folks and tour widely..often to mostly white audiences.

   At the FSGW Getaway the last several years, there has been ONE black woman who attended. She was a lovely addition to the group, and participated in a skit. ..and she liked coming so well that last fall she brought her mother!

Now...all of these folks 'may' have had reservations about their lonely status when they first came to these gatherings, and 'may' have found some difficulties at some point, but I never heard about it, and they certainly felt welcome enough to keep attending these events.

I would be more than pleased if more felt the same way and added move voices to the mix...but there IS this cultural difference that makes the musical tastes enough different that it seldom happens.

Obviously, here at Mudcat, where political debates and general BS rages below the line, the situation is a bit different, since comments fly heavy and fast sometimes, and people sometimes say things they might not in RT discussions...but there are similarities, too...and most of us are happy to trade opinions with anyone, regardless of ethnicity. Most of us 'seem' to not even want to consider ethnicity of other Mudcatters when discussing issues OUTSIDE of Mudcat...such as politics. In my view, this applies even to discussions about Obama and the implicit racial/ethnic issues that arise simply because he is who he is!
Last week, I voted for Obama because I think he IS a good choice..articulate, inspirational, intelligent and as far as I can tell...honest! (I would have happily have voted for Barbara Jordan a few years ago, too, if she had been able & willing to run!)
...Now, having said that, I **KNOW** that having Obama as a serious candidate is breaking precedent, and that some folks WILL make it an issue...and therefore that issue gets foisted on even those of us who wish it were NOT an issue. Obama himself has done a remarkably good job of not ignoring his heritage, but still not emphasizing it...which is one more reason to like him!


So...the import of all this is that I wish this thread were not happening...but like Obama's candidacy, I can't see how to avoid it once someone else brings it up.

Darn it, Azizi...I wish YOU were able to come to the Getaway so that I could sit down with you and ..... (I was going to say "discuss this issue", but as I reached for the keys, I realized what I wanted to say was, "NOT discuss this issue" *grin*)...I know that you have a lot to contribute on certain topics (such at the threads on street rhymes and games), and I like having that resource FROM someone 'in the tradition'...but I have the feeling that this thread is creating an issue that feeds on itself and makes even innocent remarks take on flavors that wouldn't have been relevant if the thread hadn't been started...but now it's too late....

You see what a degree in philosophy can DO to one's head?

I could have written 27 other paragraphs, with recitation of personal stories in my 50 years of confronting the vagaries of humanity....but I just don't know where to start...we'll see how it goes.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:05 PM

Azizi-

I may have been one of the first Mudcatters to welcome you to this forum. And I did so primarily because I found your posts of interest. I still do. And I hope you decide to continue on here and express yourself fully.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:17 PM

This thread is an interesting read.

To all who have posted, thank you. This even includes those who didn't say what a wonderful person I am.

:o)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:18 PM

I dunno' why you're so wired up over this Ziz.......Most of us can understand but where I take issue and where you have a real problem that you must confront is the fact you're fockin' 'Burgher. That's a tough one for anyone to overcome.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: peregrina
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:23 PM

Hi Azizi,

I was watching this thread with interest but not posting--though it seems important and good for this to be brought into the open. A question for you--but feel free to ignore if it's thread drift--is could we all here do things to make mudcat easier/more welcoming to you, to people of color generally?

Sometimes experiences make me aware of practices and circumstances that amount to a kind of covert or implicit prejudice. Here in England, it's class as often as colour, but I find the new awareness that results helpful.
Best wishes,
mary


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:24 PM

**

Fwiw, let me respond to some of Grab's questions:
[Grab's questions are placed in quotation marks and my responses follow}

"However, isn't it fair to say that your major interest is in Afro-American culture, and particularly in the increased role that you think African culture should play in that?"

Actually, my major interest in Mudcat and outside of Mudcat is contemporary children's rhymes. It is true that I started out collecting only African American children's rhymes, but have "branched out" to the collection and study of the continuity and changes in children's rhymes and the role that race/ethnicity may "play" in the text structure, use of colloquialisms and other referents, and performance activities, {among other things} of those rhymes.

However, it's true that I'm interested in the role African cultures have had and continue to have upon African American cultures-particularly in things like naming traditions, music, dance, hair styles, and oratory traditions like the dozens and the use of exclamations to affirm that you hear and agree with a person who is speaking.

"After all, you've spent years researching African culture, you've created a job for yourself in publicising and teaching African culture to Afro-Americans, and you've done a awful lot of investigation into Afro-American traditions and the connections to African traditions".

It's true that I spent years researching {as an armchair folklorist even though for most of those years I didn't know what a "folklorist was} African American and African cultures. However, unfortunately, I've not created a job for myself publicizing and teaching African American culture to African Americans or anyone else. That is unless you're referring to the 2 years thirty years ago that I was employed as an African storyteller with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. And that is unless you count the small stipends and small grants that I've received since then to tell {adapted} West African stories, to facilitate African American game song sessions, and to start my website www.cocojams.com. I would trade my real job as a foster care caseworker in a heartbeat {well after giving the required notice, that is} to work "in publicising and teaching" the aspects of African American culture that I know to African Americans and to
non-African Americans.

But sad to say, like so many other folks here, what we love to do is more our avocation than our vocation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: gnu
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:25 PM

Gosh. I was gonna comment about being a Hran player, but I assume the joke would be lost in all this seriousness.

I guess I just "don't see colour". I see my black type written words on a white background... same as everybody elses posts, save the ones who show off. And, that's okay with me too.

Other than that, I'm with Beer. I don't care who says it, I care what they say. As for analyzing this and that and the other and trying to generalize or, conversely, nitpick, whatever, I think it's a load of horseshit.

Before I leave faster than I entered, don't ya find it odd that this site is dedicated to folk and blues? and this site has so many wonderous tributes to the Blues? and that Azizi is the only person here who is black? Do with that what you will. On accounta I don't care how you twist it... that's just the way it is.

PS Azizi.... glad you are here. Hope you get more of your friends involved in this great site, no matter what colour or religion or.... even hran players.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:47 PM

Well, I see that this thread has inspired another thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=108935&messages=66
BS: Mudcat is also difficult for.......

I've not read that entire thread, but I think it's tended more toward humor {humour} than anything else.

Which is fine. I would like to laugh more since laughing or at least smiling help one get through some of life's tough times.

Unfortunately, I've not been laughing too much lately. And I take the blame for that, and don't blame anyone else.

When I started this thread I had a great deal of pent up emotion that I needed to express in order to make some sense of it. As I mentioned in my first thread, sometimes writing things down is   better for me than talking things out. Perhaps I should have delt with what I was feeling by myself or by talking it out with friends or family outside of Mudcat rather than sharing it with {inflict it upon?} this community.

But I chose to start this thread, and I appreciate the comments that have been posted here.

As to gnu's comment about "analyzing this and that and the other and trying to generalize or, conversely, nitpick, whatever", I warned you that I'm expressing my Virgo astrological placements. {Virgo energy is said to be over-analytical}

And-as I think I saw on that other "Mudcat Is Difficult" thread- those who believe in astrology are another group for whom Mudcat is difficult. But just as I've been interested in children's rhymes for years, I've also been interested in astrology for even more years.

And did I mention that I also believe in reincarnation?

Did that make the list in that other thread? I'll have to go check it out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:53 PM

One of the minor entertainments that has amused me on Mudcat, right from the beginning of my visiting, has been to try and discern "identifying features" of those who post. One of the attributes easily hidden behind a nom de plume is the gender of the poster but I have often observed from various posts that the person posting is often not "identifying" their gender by the content or style of that particular post. Some use linguistic identifiers to deliberately draw attention, others just write "color" or "colour" without selfconsciousness. I just enjoy them all.

It might have been the specifics of the thread or the specifics of the posts in which I first encountered Azizi but it was always the topic that caught my interest and it was a while before any particular "identity" attributes became clear to me; in chronological order I think it was "From the US", "African-American" and "female". That might say more about me than about Azizi but I have great respect for her activities as apparent from Mudcat and the occasional PM.

It seems to me that questions of identity and self-identification are the replacements for those questions of 'class' that exercised Anglophone communities a century ago and the questions of gender that exercised them later last century. Some people, because of their own experiences, are extremely sensitive about identification, while others are casual or even dismissive of it. Some, like Dafydd "The only gay in the village" in the Little Britain series, even lampoon it and even I can do a seriously mocking ocker when I think it appropriate.

Just keep on being, Azizi.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:04 PM

If you'd been born with the skin colour referred to as "black", John Hardly, that wouldn't necessarily mean you were African-American. After all most people with the range of colours referred to as "black" aren't. They (or their ancestors) might come from Africa, India, Australia, and quite a few other parts of the world. And of course there are many Americans with dark skin who don't have African ancestry.

If you wanted to indicate that your family of origin came - at least in part - from Africa, and not from those other parts of the world, and ended up in America, the obvious term is African-American, set alongside Irish-American and Italian-American. Nothing "asinine" about any of those terms so far as I can see.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:12 PM

Well, I just have three things to say:

1. First of all, Mizzi... You are the coolest of the cool... I mean, you got it goin'...

2. Yeah, I talk a little black, a little hillbilly, a little white, a little redneck, a little folk singer, a little bluesman, a little corney an', hey...

3. I'm glad now that with my poor ol' hillbilly back so outta sorts that this about all I can type at one danged sittin' 'er I'd prolly get my butt all whupped on... Maybe this is God's way of protectin' me???

I gotta go lie (lay) down now... Maybe drenk a cold beer...

Did I mention, Mizzi, that I think the world of' ya'??? If not, I do...

B~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM

so what happened. Did you suggest it to someone else, and they said, not for me baby cos.......

I wouldn't like to think I made it difficult for anybody who wanted to talk about anything. Unless they sing inpenetable 20 minute folk ballads in Scottish accent.

we've got to draw the line somewhere ....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:32 PM

I just noticed spaw's 25 Feb 08 - 04:18 PM post in which he tried to malign my adopted city, the great and powerful Pittsburgh.   

Umm, Spaw, what's the name of that small town you live in?

{Even though I envy it's Halloween customs}.

:o)

**

On a more serious note, I also just noticed peregrina's {mary's} 25 Feb 08 - 04:23 PM and her question "...is could we all here do things to make mudcat easier/more welcoming to you, to people of color generally?

I hope that folks here don't think that I'm saying that Mudcat members and guests have not been welcoming to me. My experience has been that many people here have been very welcoming. In the 3 1/2 years that I've been posting on Mudcat, I've seen a handful of racist comments posted on the public forum. None of those comments were directed towards me but were directed to Black people in general or to a Black celebrity in particular. One awful post that I remember was directed towards Bob Marley. I won't repeat what was said}. But I am still thankful to Peace for his {shall we say} forceful response to that guest who posted that comment.
All this to say that usually once moderators see racist comments from guests or members, they quickly delete those comments. And I'm grateful for that.

I think that race is an "up" subject. What I mean by this is that the subject of race it getting more attention as a result of Barack Obama's candidacy and also even before that. I think one reason for this on an esoteric level is that race is one of the major problems of the 20th century and early centuries that still needs to be resolved.

That being so, it's likely that we {Mudcatters} will continue to talk about race. I'm not suggesting that we don't. I know that sometimes more than other times and some Mudcat threads more than other threads, this is difficult for me. I also am mindful that this is probably true for others regardless of their race/ethnicity.

I just think the difficulty that I feel sometimes "goes with the territory". If it gets too much for me, I take a break from posting to those kinds of threads, or responding to those comments or starting these kinds of threads, or posting to Mudcat itself.

But after I've recharged my batteries, I'm back in the pool again.

Also, when interacting with individuals and groups who are in a minority {and when discussing hot button subjects like race}, I think that one thing people need to do is to try to think about how it might feel walking in that other person's shoes. But that does not mean to tip toe over hot coals. That might come across as being patronizing {a feeling I've not experienced on Mudcat, thank God}.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:35 PM

"Nothing "asinine" about any of those terms so far as I can see."

I don't doubt it. You have become uncommonly adept at avoiding the obvious in favor of the obtuse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:11 PM

Possibly true, though I'd put it somewhat differently. But then I would, wouldn't I.

However in this case "the obvious" is, surely, that African-American is no more "asinine" than Irish-American, or Italian-American, or a range of other terms that Americans appear to find it convenient to make use of.

I suppose it is possible to argue that these labels get in the way of all Americans seeing themselves first and last as Americans, regardless of where their ancestors came from, that it would be better to avoid using them, and to emphasise this position by labelling them as "asinine". And that's an argument that has some merits.

So is that your position, John? Or is it just the African-American label you object to?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:34 PM

I regret to say that there seems to be a lot of resistance to what Azizi is saying. I don't always see eye to eye with her, and I think it has always as far as I remember been obvious that she was black, although I had sort of assumed that there were a number of other black catters.

I have I think mentioned that it was rare to see Azizi's mood lift, that it seemed so often to be anchored to a sombre study of actual or perceived prejudice - but this thread makes it seem clear that we needed and still need the insight that she provides.

We should nonetheless IMHO resist the temptation to airbrush history. A folk song is a folk song. Better not to bowdlerise it and then to discuss its unacceptabe features than to lose or censor the song.

I may not to date have been your staunchest supporter, Azizi, but subject to the above caveat I think I should weigh in for you more, if you so wish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 06:40 PM

So virtual (mudcat) verbal intercourse is Emotionaly difficult for you and other people of color. Good! Very GOOD!

All interaction is emotionally difficult if not right up in your face challenging.

I can recall many accusations leveled against me on mudcat.
At one point it became so vicious that communicating in pictures and cartoons was a better alternative compared to the ad hominim attacks that followed my written word.

If it is uncomfortable, you are probably telling a truth that needs to be told. Just don't expect to be believed.
When you tell the unvarnished truth it will usually seem completely fictional to other people.

If you are uncomfortable listening to others there is probably a knowledge gap that requires some sort of bridge. A bridge to hate however is a bridge to no where.

Do haters ever change? Maybe. I heard only a couple people in my life claim they have overcome early childhood learned predjudice.
Maybe the hater changes an intellectual point of view but never the emotional or vice versa.
I just wouldn't want to wait around for the change to take hold.

WHat I am sure of is that the same people who called me a niggar lover when I was 11 are the same people who say there is no hope for me if I complement French health care or merely listen to the BBC rather than FOX.

Haters as a rule won't be changed until an undeniable life changing event changes them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 07:10 PM

McGrath, as I've pointed out before, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, started this and there are many who follow...we are Americans first, then whatever ethnicity we choose to identify, i.e. American of African descent(or origin), American of Irish descent, American of Italian descent, etc., etc. It may be a little awkward to say, but it sure defines our commonality first then our diversity which makes sense to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: SINSULL
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 07:26 PM

I have waited to post until I had given this some thought. First, there are other "people of color" on Mudcat and I don't believe that Azizi necessarily represents their opinions. At least, they have not chosen to comment. If Mudcat is difficult for Azizi, let's discuss it.
Second, Mudcat is difficult for many sub-groups of folkies. The born again contingent gets worked over regularly, The "fallen Catholics", the Orange contingent, the IRA, Spaw, the obscene lyrics group, The "purists" etc -all are regularly subjected to posters who choose not to understand their posts or simply can not. We have a few ladies who read sexist discrimination into every male post and then accuse any woman who doesn't agree of being sheep. I think what I am trying to say here is that at least some of the time Azizi's experiences cause her to read too much into perfectly innocent posts. If you interpret it as racist or simply off the point EVERY TIME, maybe you need to look at your expectations.

I am an atheist who prays - FOR not TO. But every time it comes up I get raked over the coals by both sides.

Lastly, re: the elections - for the first time in American history we have a black man and a woman being seriously considered to represent a major party in the upcoming presidental election. Race is an issue. Sex is an issue. Were it not, there would have been female and black candidates long before now. We can pretend they are not or we can deal with it. But to pretend that this is not a momentous event in American history is in my opinion blind. Do I care - no. I won't vote for Clinton just because she is a woman and I won't vote for Obama simply because he is black. Many will vote for them and many will refuse to vote for either based on their sex or color. Either to me is racism/sexist.

Have I missed the point?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 07:35 PM

so what you're saying is that Obama could defuse the situation by having a sex change. then people could vote for a woman and a 'person of colour'.

frankly if I were him, I would consider it a sacrifice that his party were entitled to expect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 07:57 PM

My point being, kat, that the same syntax shold be applied whichever kind of ancestry is being acknowledged. Hyphenated or "of descent" or whatever the preferred formula maybe from time to time.

Though in practice my impression is that most Americans fall into a whole range of what could be called "descent categories". Obama for example has Irish ancestors as well as Kenyan. Not just Americans of course - I've got a godson with an Irish mother and a Mexican father.

The thing is for "white" Americans there is more of an element of freedom to choose which to select as a primary one - for black Americans there is less. Apart, I suppose, from some instances where there may be an option of going either with the Hispanic label or the African-American one (or whatever the preferred term may be).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:05 PM

I am a person of color. My color often prompts people to ask if I am OK and need to sit down. Have you seen the movie Powder? Well thats my color. You can guess what my nick name was. I was told that when I was born they pried my eyes open to be sure I was not an albino, which I am not. Yep, I reflect all colors and absorb very few. If it were the other way around I am sad to say I would probably have additional undeserved damaging problems on top of all the other human foibles we all have in common.

On the Obama thing, I believe there is plenty of room for people to want the populist over the traditional imperial candidate without race being a steering factor.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:05 PM

I would like to make a suggestion Azizi.

Think about the whole question of "WWAS" (what would azizi say) and ask what it is and why it exists and for whom it exists.

There may be instances that have contributed to you being characterised in this role, but the idea that you could be considered any type of arbiter on the subject of "how black people feel", like the black ambassador or somesuch is in my opinion unhealthy for you and for the site.

Race and Ethnicity are important issues for you, and most likely as a result of your lifetime experience. But your passion for that subject needn't define you on its own any more than your race should define you on its own.

They are obviously both parts of your identity, but like your sexuality, they only take up a proportion of it.

But ultimately, the dynamic of you as some kind of source for advice on "how the blacks see it" is something that can only develop if you participate in it's development.

You may have to accept some responsibility for that image of you/yourself.

So perhaps you should have asked "is it difficult ... " or something like it ... I can't think of a way of making it a discussion about anything other than how you feel.

Perhaps it's difficult to be Azizi on the mudcat ...

My question to you is, is it any more difficult on Mudcat than anywhere else?

I don't mean to be insulting but it reminds me a bit of a Character in the british comedy sketch Little Britain.


Daffyd is the self proclaimed only Gay in the village, and is frequently disappointed at the lack of controversy surrounding him.

People like you here Azizi because you're a nice person with a big sensitive heart and a wise old intelligent clear creative mind.

Well ok - perhaps I should just speak for myself ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:06 PM

I'm trying to figure out what I mean when I say that things are difficult for me at Mudcat sometimes...

First off, I'm specifically talking about threads when the subject of race {Black/non-Black race and race relations} comes up.

In his 25 Feb 08 - 06:34 PM post Richard wrote that "it was rare to see Azizi's mood lift, that it seemed so often to be anchored to a sombre study of actual or perceived prejudice".

That's the thing. I don't want to be somber. One thing that I didn't know about myself that I learned from posting on Mudcat is that I have a wierd sense of humor and I like being witty or at least I like trying to be witty.

The thing is that I come to Mudcat to cool out, to kick back and relax, and engage in some intellectually exchange with folks who think about more than American Idol. Sometimes I really need to get away from it all. And some of what I need to get away from is that four letter word "race". I like being a member of an international community. I like learning about different people and places and cultures. I get energized by those threads.

If I know that a thread is about race, I can open it if I want to and join in the conversation. Or I can lurk or not even open that thread. And I have done each of these things. But what is more difficult for me is what I call being blindsided when I think I'm going to be joining a conversation about another subject and the subject of race comes up-on its and not because I'm there {or I don't think it's because I'm a part of the conversation}.

A lot of times it makes my somber mood come right back again.

Race is a serious subject and sometimes I don't always want to be serious. It's not that I'm uncomfortable talking about race on Mudcat. But particularly when I'm at low energy, it's more than a notion to talk about something that in the best of times can be energy draining.

One reason why this subject drains my energy is that sometimes it's like I'm talking another language and trying to explain a culture that is foreign to other people. And so not only do I have to be careful about what I say, I have to be careful about how I say it. Not only that, but I don't want to hurt people's feelings and I don't want people to perceive me as someone who is always talking about Black stuff {too late for that I know}. But that isn't the real me.

Yet, when I think of it, as I realized when I wrote about race on another Mudcat thread {I guess I do this periodically, don't I?}, in my life from college on, I've been "the only" Black person in a lot of different settings. So there must be something about that which is fated or which I gravitate to {maybe both}.

Btw, Richard Bridge, I agree with your statement that "We should nonetheless.... resist the temptation to airbrush history. A folk song is a folk song. Better not to bowdlerise it and then to discuss its unacceptabe features than to lose or censor the song."

However, I'm much more in favor of the study of songs with the n-word and with 19th century Black dialect than teaching them and encouraging children to sing them.

And, another thing, Richard. What's that you say? You don't always see eye to eye with me? For shame!

But that's okay, Richard. I don't want you or anybody else agreeing with me about everything that I say.

That would be really dull, now wouldn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John O'L
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:15 PM

Try being an Australian on this forum. By the time you see a thread it's already 3 pages long, everything's been said, and eveybody else is done with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:19 PM

Azizi-you are a nice mudcat person, and you know about folk songs but..
Why do you keep going on about you been black?
Thee are plenty of minority groups here, [poofs, lesbiuns, disableds etc}, we are judged here by what we write, not skin colour, size , shape , age or any other discering feature.

You are famous here for been black, youve mentioned it loads of times,
you are not the only black member here, i know of at least 2 others.


you make a thread="Mudcat is hard for black people".
I don;t know, as i;m white, but can;t see as i would enjoy this site any less if i was black.

ie, maybe you blame all problem on racism?
eg your bus is late, "they racist!"
no, there was traffic jam!

or you got bad sevice in hotel or rrestaraunt, so ="they rasicst",
maybe is just rubbish place, and service is bad for everyone?


race is not relevant here, we all folk music lovers,
just forget about your race/colour and get on with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:24 PM

Ah but the Aussies can get in and hammer away at the threads they start well before anyone else gets a chance at them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:26 PM

?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:27 PM

The only thought I can had, dear Zeez, is that if the difficulty you are trying to pin down is persistant, makes you glum, cannot be quite spotted, then the possibility should be examined whether it is being based on a completely wrong assumption -- in other words that it has been pinned on "race" when it is really from some other source altogether.

Just a thought, one way or the other.

Regards,


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:30 PM

Having said that,

This is a discussion forum wher as you say, you have the opportunity to explore issues and record the process.

And the questions that matter to you are as important as the questions which matter to everyone else.

Furthermore, as Sinsull has pointed out, race is an issue and to pretend it isn't is just plain silly.

And it's an uncomfortable issue to discuss.

It poisons everyday discourse.

It gets between me and friends and makes us wince s we squeeze through it " ... oh yeah I've got this friend who ... " " ... oh what does she look like ... "

" ... well he/she wears a blue hat ... he/she's white/black ... "

- wince -

" ... yeah so anyway ... he /she thinks blah blah ..."

And for you it's important to talk about it.

Now that is healthy.

People who insist on talking about these issues intelligently serve to keep the rest of us, white and black, from becoming complacent.

Race crime is apparently on the up in the UK of late ...

... and this ... the cradle of civilization ...

Begorrah and Bejaysus!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:31 PM

Hundred???


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:34 PM

101


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:40 PM

There are more good posts than not on this thread. Several in fact that are very thoughtful, and only a few that I would consider flippant, or appaling. Not a bad catch at all.

Actually, it seems as if Mudcat is a forum where difficult questions can be discussed, if someone whom people respect raises the question. It doesn't mean that the process of discussion is easy but there is a process.

I'm not sure I would have the courage to raise such a question but I certainly admire those who do, and who actually respond in kind to what is said.

I don't suppose there is a pub in Pittsburgh where folks hang out singing old steamboat songs? Guess I'll have to find another excuse to pay a visit. Or we could create another virtual pub!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Beer
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:40 PM

102 and I shouldn't say this but since I've noticed a little thing on really no importance I guess I better. 102 post and still no Guest appearance. Not even Guest guest who usually has lots of interesting things to say.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:40 PM

you are not the only black member here, i know of at least 2 others.
-Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

That's actually kinda funny. Thanks for making me smile.

As to being famous for being black, I really don't think that's my motivation for periodically raising the topic of race on Mudcat's discussion forum.

As to blaming day to day problems I may encounter on my being Black, nope. That's not me either.

And as to race not being relevant here on Mudcat, I think the very fact that this subject keeps coming up {and not just in threads I start or posts that I write} means that it's a topic that Mudcat members and guests feel the need and/or the desire to talk about...

Maybe that's because race is a part of life that needs to be addressed and needs to be worked through until it becomes as irrelevant as you think it is.

But how do we get to the point where race is irrelevant? Perhaps there are times that race does need to be talked about. Perhaps talking about it helps people to work through what old ways of thinking.

But Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull, I agree with you that I am to blame for feeling that I have to respond to others' comments about race.
I agree that I have talked about race too much on Mudcat. From now on, I will not talk about race as much as I have before-unless my spirit moves me to do so.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:41 PM

BTW, I'm not too sure where this "people of color" came from...

When it comes down to it white people are really the "colored folk"...

(That is heresy, Bobz...)

No, not really...

White is made from combining all of the basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet... You mix them colors allo together and you get white...

Black, howver, is an absence of color...

So to all my white friends here: you is da' colored people!!!

Awww, come on... Ol' Bobertz jus bored watching "I Love Lucy" repeats and laying on heat pads so I figured the least I could do was st5ep in here once in a while and have a little fun...

But really, I apologize because I really don't have the stamina to sit here and read everythin' that folks is sayin' and so wahtever I say here I'd fully understand it folks just glossed over it and went back to what, if I know MizziAzizzi, is one fine head twister...

So to all my colored friends here, it's time for this ol' hillbilly to get back on the couch...

Now back to the more serious concerns at hand...

B~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:46 PM

"thats actually kinda funny"

wahts funny about it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:49 PM

Race will never be irrelevant!

It's how we as humans mature and evolve to deal with our differences that matters.

Sex will always be an issue too.

And apparently there are some other issues that are important but I can't remember them now ... ;-)

Because when we meet people different from us we naturally and bilogically get a little wary - like children.

But also, like children, when we are shown that there is no reason to fear someone just because their appearance is unfamiliar, we can learn to play together nicely.

When gangs of kids get together and start bullying other kids for their differences than that's where the problems start and where the rest of us need to be ready to teach them alesson - hopefully that they don't need to be that way - butif necessary another more memorable one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:52 PM

Race is a serious subject and sometimes I don't always want to be serious. It's not that I'm uncomfortable talking about race on Mudcat. But particularly when I'm at low energy, it's more than a notion to talk about something that in the best of times can be energy draining.

For me, it's merely one of several "serious subjects" but I suspect I can say that without getting too fussed because the minority I identify with is not, routinely, being disparaged or singled out in some way. Having been in various 'minority' contexts I suppose I've learned to deal with it by being selective about which provocations I'll respond to.

Some threads I'll avoid because their title is clearly associated (in my mind) with discussions of issues that have never been resolved in the past and their emotional load is such that resolution is unlikely; I'll save my efforts for areas likely to be more productive. Every now and then, however, a discussion will throw up a little bombshell, similar in effect to that on Azizi of a comment on "race".

Is it 'oversensitive' of me to react? Perhaps it is, sometimes. But, if I categorise it as 'requiring a riposte', I've noticed over the years that rational arguments rarely change much about emotionally-charged beliefs. But I feel obliged to make the effort, just in case it'll work this time, and the imperative to respond is stronger when a lack of challenge to the proposition is likely to disadvantage or hurt someone. But, unless it's possible my post can extend the scope of the discussion in some way I'm really just cluttering up bandwidth.

On that basis, race is not relevant here, we all folk music lovers,
just forget about your race/colour and get on with it
while perhaps an admirable aspiration with one grain of truth, misses the point of much of the discussion.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:55 PM

"race needs to be addressed"

exectlty waht needs addresing?

we are here to discuss folk music.

people dont make a thread £wahts "your favouite folk song?" (PS i;m black), or PS I;m white, or chinese or watever").


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:56 PM

Reverend

it's funny because Azizi knows she isn't the only black person on mudcat.

And it's funny because it suggests she should stop moaning cuz there's at least two others. (so what's she moaning about)

And it would have been funny if you intended to be funny ...

... but it's funniest because you didn't ... but only in the darkest way ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:59 PM

oh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:59 PM

"race is not relevant here, we all folk music lovers,
just forget about your race/colour and get on with it."

Is there any way we could get you, jOhn from Hull, to forget about that routine of yours? I thought not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:01 PM

And reverend,

If you wish to discuss folk music you are free to.

This thread is about race ...

... if you don't believe me then read it back - you'll find I'm right.

So who is where to discuss what?

You joined a thread about race to discuss folk music?

Now that's funny!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:02 PM

some people think too much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:07 PM

You just THINK we think!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:09 PM

Stop it Bill ... you're making me laugh ... ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:09 PM

gest lox-you're an idiot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:10 PM

kiss kiss


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:33 PM

What is funny is that Sir jOhn from Hull, the man who starts threads with titles like"Are Muslims Rubbish?" and, on a more serious plane, "Are Tortoises Rubbish?", is suddenly fussy that this should all be about folk music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 10:58 PM

Trust me girl

Re: Emotionally Difficult for Me

Dis ain non ALL "White Bread" forum.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

When ah fers cum in, dey branded me wid sin.
Ah stil remane, and it still de same.

Look Girl - there are ten million websites that we can post to.

The Mudcat - is Wonder Bread.

Ninty-Five percent posted here - ten years ago - would have been removed as "S" aka "C"

Do NOT give up!!!

Life on the Mudcat - ain't no crystal stair - but posting does promise a hope "A bot" will pick it up...and inclusion into the heritage of the "American Folk Song Legacy" will be garned.

Azizi

PLEASE

Stick Around...suck up the gut and continue.

Your postings "Above The Line" are one of the last remaining pieces that made the old "Mudcat" great.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:03 PM

Curious

Observation

No "mudcatters" of long history have checked into your thread.

BUT the UK is well represented.

Tuesday is my weekend off. So let me review and report....but it appears at first glance You DO Have a Bone To Pick.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:34 PM

I thought I qualified as of "long history".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:41 PM

"All skin, without coloring, would appear creamy white. Near-surface blood vessels add a blush of red. A yellow pigment also tints the canvas. Lastly, sepia-toned melanin, created in response to ultraviolet rays, appears black in large amounts. These four hues mix in different proportions to create the skin colors of all the peoples of Earth."

LiveScience.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Gulliver
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:45 PM

Now I've read through this whole thread (and it's way past my bedtime). I never thought of Azizi as black until she responded (very nicely, but a bit long-windedly, but I've gotten used to that now) to a thread I started on songs against racism. I didn't know she was a woman until tonight. I'd like to say gender and skin colour make no difference to me (but they do, even if just a little).

My interest in the topic is that my son, who grew up in another country, is coloured--his mother is Somalian (I'm Irish, by the way). As a result, I'm a bit sensitive to racist comments. Years ago I easily got into fights if I heard what I thought was a racist comment, and lost a couple of close friends as a result of their attitude (or my attitude). But then I've come to realize, well, no use going through life with a chip on your shoulder--people are going to do what they want to do, that's life, make the best of it, and my reply to a racist comment now is: Keep your comments to yourself, we're ALL God's children under heaven.   

In some ways I can feel for Azizi, but in other ways I want to say lighten up, don't go around brooding. There are so many people in the world, and no doubt on Mudcat, with really bad problems--health, financial, family, drugs, drink, etc.--to worry about. Your health is your wealth, and if you've got that consider yourself lucky and everything else falls into perspective.

And on a lighter note, the Carolina Chocolate Drops are coming to Ireland, and all going well I'll be at their gig next Saturday.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Slag
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 12:02 AM

You're black? I didn't know. Thanks for telling me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Slag
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 12:13 AM

So Art Brooks is a retired Army officer. That explains some things. That's got my prejudices up and running. I believe it was you that were cross-examining my authenticity as an Air Force Sergent. Yeah, that was a year or so ago. OK. The lifers were always fond of calling the new recruits "maggots" so I guess it was just natural that we called lifers "flies". Or was this just an Air Force thing?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Gulliver
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 12:14 AM

Slag, if you're referring to me, no, I'm not black, maybe just a little green--but it's not easy being green ;-)

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Grab
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:14 AM

Thanks for the corrections, Azizi - I thought you did more of the Afican-tradition-promotion than you did. OK, not exactly a job then; more like a part-time semi-pro thing. So rather like most musicians then - never get rich doing what you enjoy best. :-)

Graham.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:33 AM

Is it just me, or does anybody else think twice before disagreeing with a 'person of colour', in case their complaint is regarded as being against their colour, and not their statements?
Or even expressing dislike for someone of colour, in case someone says "You just don't like X, because he/she is black/yellow/brown" When really you dislike them because they're a PITA.
I would find that a difficult situation,luckily it's not a common problem for me.

Giok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Kweku
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:38 AM

Thanks Azizi for the compliments. And like I stated in the earlier posting to this thread, I don't bother about the fact that Mudcat is dominated by Western music and issues. But like I said it was established in the Western hemisphere and there is nothing much that can be done to change the situation(except to convince more people of color to join), which is quite difficult because most of my friends I encouraged to join find Mudcat rather boring.

Some would join if the issues were broad based rather than skewed towards Western issues. Funny enough I don't know if Mudcat has posters in Asia and South America. So in a way I would rather say that mudcat is difficult for people of other continents outside the US,Canada and Western Europe.

I do believe that with time Mudcat will have posters all over the globe and that would make it more "interesting". Because at least we would discuss the recent African Cup of Nations which recorded a record 99 goals and was hosted by my Motherland Ghana the gateway to Africa.

"ayeeko"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:48 AM

Hi Azizi

I believe this is a challenging place to address issues about race from an African American standpoint. The variety of responses here is a good illustration! I don't have anything deep to say about it at the   
moment, but I'm glad you are smiling! Are you familiar with this song?
A friend pointed it out to me and since I already knew and liked the melody and I'm immersed in an ethnography of Ida Goodson and the music she played I have been learning this song.

But mainly I'm thinking about it and intend to do some more research about it. I'd like to hear what you have to say about it. Wasn't it Sean Combs that said he was most attracted to melody and the power it has? I find the power of melody in the early minstrel songs very compelling. Many of these melodies are imprinted in our collective musical brains, I find.   

PS The one time I tried a lighthearted approach to your bringing up race, I was misunderstood (a common experience for me), so I stopped addressing the issue. But more power to you. hg      



KINGDOM COMING
(Henry Clay Work)

Say, darkeys, hab you seen de massa,
Wid de muff-stash on his face,
Go long the road some time dis mornin'
Like he gwine to leab de place?
He seen a smoke, 'way up the ribber
Whar the Linkum gunboats lay;
He took his hat an' lef' berry sudden
An' I spec he's run away!

cho: De massa run? Ha ha!
De darkeys stay? Ho ho!
It mus' be now de kingdom comin'
An' de year ob Jubilo!

He six foot one way, two foot tudder,
An' he weigh tree hundred pound;
His coat so big, he couldn't pay de tailor,
An' it won't go half way round.
He drill so much dey call him Cap'n
An' he get so drefful tanned,
I spec he try and fool dem Yankees
For to t'ink he's contraband!

cho:

De darkeys feel so lonesome, libing
In de log-house on the lawn,
Dey move dar t'ings to massa's parlour,
For to keep it while he's gone.
Dar's wine an' cider in de kitchen,
An' de darkeys dey'll have some;
I spose dey'll all be confiscated
When de Linkum sojers come.

cho:

De oberseer he make us trouble
An he dribe us round a spell;
We lock him up in de smoke-house cellar
Wid de key trown in de well.
De whip is lost, de han-cuff broken
But de massa'll hab his pay;
He's ole enough, big enough, ought to known better
Dan to went an' run away.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:13 AM

Is it because I is black?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Megan L
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:52 AM

In case anyone hasent noticed we are all damb well coloured we wid be right poor buddos if we wurny.

Meg who is still auld and grumpy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:21 AM

Sir jOhn - with remarks like that no wonder Azizi sometimes finds the 'cat abrasive.

Musically speaking, however, officially the 'cat is a folk and blues forum, but there is little discussion of blues other than the occasional thread on Robert Johnson. The blues, plainly, is an American form, but it is specifically African-American form - to the extent that although I find it very attractive to listen to I have to concede late in my time at university, that it was inappropriate for me to perform it, that I would be a cuckoo in the nest. I am sometimes surprised that so few African-Americans either carry that form forward, or wish to discuss its past (on the performance front Keb Mo and Guy Davis being exceptions).

I am not surprised that African-Americans are largely uninterested in discussions of English farm traditional songs, or songs about the Highland clearances, because those are not their roots and there is no obvious reason for those themes to be relevant to them.

But conversely it is well known that there were both fighting ships and cargo ships largely crewed by black (intentional distinction from African-American, because some were African-British) crews and I would not be surprised if there were not African-French and African-Dutch crews as well. Both the shanties and the forebitters of those traditions I would expect to be relevant to African-Americans, as relating to a history in which they participated, and in which Lloyd remarks that they had a distinct musical tradition in that (he asserts) the white crews sang shanties in unison whereas the black ones sang in harmony - a divide still found (although not along racial lines) between shanty crews.

The tradition generally of Americana I do not appreciate so clearly, but surely there are a wealth of traditional American songs of poverty and exploitation, both urban and rural, that although applying to communities that were often segregated, speak of a common experience. Perhaps the experiences of segregation and slavery divide the traditions there that are relevant to African-Americans from those that are not. I merely speculate.

Morris dancing, however, and its relevance to the death-rebirth cycle (the tree in the bog, if you like) might seem potentially cross-cultural, but apart from the story of the Baobab tree (that everyone knows) I know very little about African traditions so maybe I am wrong.

What I don't at all see is why modern African-Americans should find "below-the-line" threads irrelevant.

Maybe we might ask what it is that the specifically African-American online communities (I think there was a mention above) do discuss. I remember a long time ago there was a very pretty girl indeed working in a law office of a firm in which I had just made partner, and she was in the word-processing department. Some light bandinage revealed by chance that she was a qualified Jamaican attorney but not admitted as an English solicitor despite some mutual recognition protocols. Anyway, I got her at least working as a paralegal for the firm, which would have counted as equivalent to "articles" (solicitor's apprenticeship) with a view to her eventual admission as an English solicitor, and we bumped into each other with some frequency.

We both fancied each other - at times the air almost crackled - but neither of us could find a ready avenue of communication with each other (this was not helped by the fact that she was an enthusiastic Christian attending a Baptist church while I had a pretty jaded view of the Church of England). We both painfully and obviously walked on eggshells while hopefully trying to make conversation (so alas it never came to anything).

I wonder if there is something like that here on the Mudcat (not helped by those so ready to make insensitive remarks).

If we can square that circle, maybe we can also institute a protocol for painless communication between the Irish (and Irish-Americans) on the one hand, and the ENglish (and other British) on the other...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 10:11 AM

Guest Gargoyle might review the history of some of the posters on this thread. Quite a few with pretty long histories on Mudcat have posted, meself included (over 10 years under 2 handles).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 12:54 PM

Bloody hell - it's Richard Madeley ... no ... it's Alan Partridge ...



Here's a joke for you all:

(for the record - I am Irish)

There was a Thick Paddy who came over from Ireland to england looking for work.

As is the case with all Thick Paddies (as we all know), he headed straight for a building site.

When he arrived, he asked the foreman:

"mister .. d'ye have a job"

To which the foreman replied,

"I do, but first I need you to tell me the difference between a joist and a girder".

The Thick Paddy scratched his head and replied:

"sure that's aisy ... Joist wrote Ulysses and Girder wrote faust".




And Maya Angelou wrote "I know why the cage bird sings",

And in the process she made it easy for the rest of us to understand why too.

And enriched our lives by sharing her personal experience and her thoughts.

Keep it coming Azizi ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 01:30 PM

On here you can be any colour

But I have to admit, not declaring any ethnic sensitivities doesn't solve all problems.

There are plenty of people who tread on others' toes. The commercially motivated with spin. People with low self esteem who need agreement. Flamers who don't care. Unthinking folks. Hasty happytappers.
But there are forums with worse communities for all of this.

Then there is the archive of old songs that are what they are. Shanties have been bowdlerised because of it.

When you are amongst friends it should be easier.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 03:47 PM

John, I always view OZ as being in tommorrow while the rest of us are still finsihing yesterday.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:03 PM

And we try, Donuel, not to be too smug about getting the sunshine first hand while you lot only get it after it's been used a bit.

Oi! Quarcoo!
What's all this So in a way I would rather say that mudcat is difficult for people of other continents outside the US,Canada and Western Europe stuff? You go and forget about us?!
I'm just proving your point, actually.

And, while others have addressed other aspects with wonderful sensitivity, I find Richard's post puts (what I've understood to be) the Mudcat enterprise into Azizi's context so elegantly that I want to applaud. There are various elements elsewhere that hint at it but Richard's could, alone, justify the thread going above the line.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:28 PM

Flattery will get you






















Everywhere


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:03 PM

My colour has caused me little dificulty on mudcat as most people don't know what colour I am!....Would it have made a difference if they had known? Who can tell?
With regard to The right reverent Sir John from Hull...who I have had the pleasure to meet......his comment about "Is it because I's black" relates to a UK TV show where someone made a huge racial gaffe....Sir John was not being prejudiced in that comment.....UK readers will understand this.
Best wishes, Mike.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:41 PM

Well, as long as UK readers understand...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM

I can't help but think of this when so many respond to the term color. I actually never have liked using the term "colored" myself but...

author unknown
A black man talks to a white man:

When I was born I was black,
When I grew up I was black,
When I'm sick I'm black,
When I go in the sun I'm black,
When I'm cold, I'm black,
When I'm scared, I'm black,
When I'm sick, I'm black,
When I die I'll still be black.

But you: When you're born you're pink,
When you grow up you're white,
When you're sick, you're green,
When you go in the sun you turn red,
When you're cold you turn blue,
When you're scared, you're yellow,
When you're bruised, you're purple,
and when you die you turn grey.
And you have the nerve to call me colored.

Peace.
Rustic


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: robomatic
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:54 PM

My short comment:

Race as a characteristic of a human being need not be important when we are corresponding with each other in a non-color venue where we can simply speak directly to a musical point.
It of course is very important as a frame of reference regarding one's background, either from a view from the inside, or a view from the outside.

From Azizi's past posts I've already realized that race is very important to (her-I think)and whether it is fair to assume that it is always the case ("Azizi posting, must be a question of race"), Azizi has always been articulate and engaging in such matters and I guess she's going to write when she's so moved.

My background as American, Northerner, anglophile, francophile, slavophile, Jew, has definitely given me a realm of frames of reference which moderate what and when I write in. As for this thread, I've known black people at school, at work, casually, where race was a factor in our conversation, and of course, many cases where it wasn't. I guess I came to view black people to be as varied as any other folk, which means I've met all kinds of personalities under all kinds of skin. Found it all quite innerestin'.

Bottom line, I'm often interested in what Azizi has to say, and this thread has already proved provocatively interesting.

Well done.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:18 AM

The tagline "Is it because I's black" was used by a tagline of a white Oxford-educated Jewish comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, who also was the creative force behind a truly appalling film starring a character called "Borat" (in which he used a racial stereotype character to mock what he saw as unworthy Americana)

This tagline was a catchphrase of his first famous funny character (I had to say that deadpan) called "Ali G". The "humour" lay in the fact that said comedian tried to dress and behave like a stereotypical street gangsta. Its apologists called it "post ironic". It always struck me as beneath contempt. The white Jewish comedian used the phrase (in character) whenever criticised.

While he was happy to mock the beliefs of others, he was once seen to throw a huge wobbler in the Ivy when he found bacon in the mashed potato. He was, it seemed, happy to demand that others respected his racial and religious beliefs while taking the piss out of everyone else.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: mg
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:22 AM

I certainly think it could be a dilemma, especially when people say something, intentionally or innocently, that is offensive. I would feel obliged to respond quickly and then having made my statement not feel compelled to ride it to the bitter end. Lots of short definitive statements over the course of time add up. And I think it is highly important to learn about the rich African, African-American, Jamacain..many other places..Creole..heritage, folklore, music. I also think there are many people in these groups who are somehow shamed into not liking certain types of music, dance, etc. because there is group pressure on them. That is not right. There are undoubtedly African Americans who love to polka and sing barber shop and watch Lawrence Welk reruns, and love the guy there that tap danced and was so soundly called names for doing that. It is all important so keep on doing it and others will follow. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: mg
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:27 AM

His Borat impersonation of struggling people, some of whom I am helping support buying cows etc. through Kiva.com..org? was disgusting, hateful, demeaning,...etc. etc. Oh don't watch it then. It's out there and people now have permission from all sorts of people to make fun of those who wear babushkas etc. But read the tipping point..a book I just encountered...there is a tipping point for immature, spiteful humor to be seen as socially unacceptable, and there is a tipping point for it to be seen as totally OK for certain groups. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM

Somewhat random thoughts:

This is what happens when you're getting over the flu and have slept most of the day-it's 1:41 AM eastern standard time as I start this post, and I can't convince my brain that it should be dreaming.

There are other things that I would prefer to be doing right now. But, alas! and alack! I have to settle for second or third best...which means I'm talking to myself, as well as to you guys and gals via the Internet.   

First of all, let me say muchas gracias, asante sana and thank you very much in all the other languages in the world for all the compliments that you have sent my way. And thank you very much for the interesting comments that have been posted on this thread.

{I thought I saw two posts from gargoyle. I'm sorry they were deleted. He's such a character}

I'd like to address a point that Richard Bridge wrote about in his 26 Feb 08 - 07:21 AM post:

Richard, you wrote that you would expect "Both the shanties and the forebitters ...to be relevant to African-Americans, as relating to a history in which they participated"

Unfortunately, based on my direct and indirect experiences, I think that not very many Black Americans know what "shanties" and "forebitters" are. It's only because I read about the song form "shanties" in several Mudcat threads on that topic that I {kinda} know what they are. But I'm sorry to say I don't know what a "forebitter" is {or was}. I'm assuming by the way you used the word "forebitters" that it's a type of song sung or chanted by sailors. Is this guess even in the right ball park?


Here's two of my theories as to why many [most?] African Americans don't know {or do not know that we know} shanties, and other old timey songs and music genres such as 19th century Black secular dances songs {such as "Juba". Jim Along Josie", and "Hambone"}, and blues, and [even] jazz [Note that I've not included "spirituals" in this list; although my sense is that more African Americans nowadays know some spirituals, particular those Black people who go to some [Black] Baptist and some [Black] Methodist churches; but even those Black people only know a few specific spirituals. And, I would dare say that a large percentage of African American children, youth, and adults don't know any spirituals}. Needless to say, I think that's a low down {dirty} cryin shame.

Briefly, and without supplemental comments that are too longwinded
with apologies to Gulliver :o}, I think that among the reasons why African Americans appear to have largely turned their backs on or forgotten all about these music forms that were created by our ancestors are:

1} we don't want to be reminded of the horrendous experiences of slavery. In part this is because those centuries were so horrible and in part this is because slavery caused us {Black people} to believe the myth that until and unless we were educated in White men's and women's ways, we were less than not only White people, but less than any other people in the world.

2} {perhaps for the reasons stated above and other reasons} African Americans are forward looking people who prefer to {or are much better at} creating rather than preserving cultural indices. If this is so, I think it is because of nurture rather than nature {meaning, we have been taught to value creating, and improvising, and thinking out of the already existing box rather than valuing creative forms that our ancestors made}

The proof is in the pudding {insert a better folk saying-perhaps an appropriate African proverb though I can't think of one right now, but absolutely not "It takes a village to raise a child"...but that doesn't fit what I was saying any way}

Moving right along...

Look how fast we {African Americans} create slang, and dances, and new clothing fashions, and new music forms. Colloquial words and expressions get old mighty quick among Black folks...{particularly when those Black created words and experessions are absorbed by mainstream-read White-society}. And African American social dances may change from month to month. New African American social music forms may stick around for a while {R&B, Hip-Hop}..But the specific recorded songs from those genres don't last too long. Most urban radio stations in the USA will occassionally play certain songs that were hits a couple of years ago, a couple of decades ago, or even longer {in the case of 70s, and 60s music. But rarely are any songs played from the 1950s or 1940s. Those songs are tooo old!

The more I think about it, it's possible that this rejection of old cultural forms may extend to people in the Caribbean and possibly other Black people in Latin and South America. I'm unsure of this but I think it would be an interesting area of study. Certainly {Black} West Indians are known for creating new forms of music such as calypso, mento, ska, roots reggae, dancehall reggae, soca, reggaeton, kompa, etc. I'm wondering if once a new form is created, is the old form still treasured and is it still played on a daily basis or even on special occassions?

In the first comment I posted on this discussion forum -in a thread about the African American spiritual "Kumbaya"- I wrote something like "Black people need to do better about protecting our heritage. In that comment I was referring to the theory that someone had posted that that song was of Afrikaans' origin. I still believe that we need to do better about protecting-claiming our past. We also need to do much better about learning about and honoring our culture-including those musical genres that Richard Bridge referred to in his post.

**

Of course, this doesn't mean that we don't incorporate the old in the new, and we don't keep any of our old traditions...Of course, we do. But still, I think I'm on to something with these theories. But they may just be the cold medicine talking. But maybe not.

Enough random thoughts...

It is now 3:27 AM. And I'm outta here.

Catch y'll later!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:43 AM

mg, I just read your post of 27 Feb 08 - 02:22 AM.

I think your comments add more layers to the comments I had just made about why I believe that many African Americans don't cherish our culture.

Of course, another point is that we're not taught it in public schools. And perhaps-no-certainly our children and all other students should at the very least be introduced to these old music forms. But then again many American students dcn't even have vocal music classes and instrumental music is also rarely offerred.

That said, it's on us all-regardless of race and ethnicity-to advocate for improved educational curriculums. And it's up to us all to learn about and value our culture-and learn about and value other cultures-and then share what we learn with others.

That's where Mudcat comes in.

**

Okay. I'm really leaving now.

Good night-or Good day

Whichever the case may be!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: s&r
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:07 AM

Shanties are songs sung while working where there is a need for rhythmic encouragement. Forebitters are songs sung to amuse or entertain during non working periods

Stu


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge waiting to lecture...
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:55 AM

Hope you are better soon Azizi.

IMHO it is better to reclaim your past and to be proud of it than to turn your back on it - in the same way the "new queer" movement has reclaimed past experience of homophobia.

But the situation of the black historical sailor was not significantly different from the white. Both were rigidly oppressed by their captains and by the economic and class structures of the time, and AFAIK the black sailor would not usually have been a slave.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Grab
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 09:01 AM

Re playing "older" music (like 40s and 50s), you don't hear too much white-created music from then either, unless you're really into that kind of stuff. Black or white, the 40s was the era of the big band, and that's not a style most folks today like.

Some older stuff survives the test of time - Jerry Lee Lewis, for example. Similarly Chuck Berry from black music of the time - plenty of folks play "Johnny B Goode", even if you might not hear the original. (You might ask how many black musicians would play "Johnny B Goode", though, and that's a valid question which I couldn't answer.) Mostly though, these are songs which are recognisably the precursors of modern pop and rock, and can still be appreciated with modern "ears".

And FWIW, white music isn't taught in schools either. You'll maybe get lessons in classical, but that pretty much stops at Beethoven and Mozart. You certainly wouldn't learn about Turlough o'Carolan, Glenn Miller, Buddy Holly, the Beatles or Bob Dylan. Nor would you be taught dances like the Charleston, waltz or foxtrot - I go to barn-dances fairly often, and hardly anyone under 70 knows a waltz step. Nor would you get instrument lessons unless your parents paid for them. So this isn't a uniquely black issue - white-originated culture also tends to forget its roots.

Maybe things are changing though? Certainly pop on the radio today is much more likely to feature people actually playing instruments, and older musical forms like the original "soul" style are being revived. This is a change from the last ten years that saw white people picking up the black styles of turntablism, mixing and rap. This to the extent that Tim Westwood, an upper-middle-class rich English kid, adopts a fake inner-city black American accent. Incidentally, Sasha Baron Cohen's "Ali G" character and his "is it cos I iz black?" approach were lampooning that "wigga" fakeness, not black culture itself.

For the further past though, it's not too surprising that black Americans wouldn't know about sailing traditions. Black sailors would be more likely to integrate into poor-white society or back into their African roots - their experiences wouldn't get back to black Americans.

Graham.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 10:04 AM

A thought:
There are black chantey singers. Here is one group:
http://www.coresound.com/fa-menhaden.htm


I wonder if the proportion of Caucasian Americans who know anything about chanteys/shanties is any higher than the proportion of blacks. I remember a review of Johnny Dep's CD after the Pirate craze began. The reviewer suggested that someone ought to look into the history of shanties as if Dep had discovered something new.

This type of music holds limited appeal to a limited number of people. Struggling Maritime festivals prove that out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 01:38 PM

s&r, thanks for posting the meaning of "forebitters".

For anybody else reading this who may not have known that, here's a link to an archived thread that includes information about forebitters:

thread.cfm?threadid=37548#524756

What is a Shanty

-snip-
There's a looong list of related Mudcat threads under that title.

**

Sinsull, here's the hyperlink to the URL that you posted:
http://www.coresound.com/fa-menhaden.htm

-snip-

In the interest of helping to make sure that the summary statement found on that website is preserved, I'm going to post it here and on the archived Mudcat thread about shanties whose link I just posted.

Menhaden Chanteymen Worksong Singers Beaufort [North Carolina]
updated Jan. 9, 2006

"For more than a century, folklorists and ballad hunters have mined the North Carolina mountains for folksongs and traditional crafts, virtually unaware that such treasures could be found in abundance along the watery byways of the coast. Many of the richest folk traditions in the state are associated with maritime occupations, or "working the water," as people say.

In the town of Beaufort, in Carteret County, commercial fishing enterprises have long operated fleets to net huge catches of menhaden, or shad fish, as they're more commonly called by the local fishermen. In processing facilities along the water, the fish are converted to a remarkable variety of uses, from feeds and fertilizers to paints and perfumes.

The ship-board crews employed by the fisheries have been predominantly black over the years, and the work assigned to them has been physically demanding. Menhaden are caught by quickly encircling large schools of fish in two small "purse" boats, which surround the fish with their nets. This purse seine must be pulled tight or "hardened," drawing it in from the bottom in order to capture the fish and lift them to the surface of the water. A special "scoop" net then brings the catch to the hold of the main fishing vessel. Since the mid-1950s, this work has been performed with the aid of hydraulic winches and lifters; prior to this time it was done by hand. As it was not uncommon for a catch to exceed 100,000 fish, hardening the net required great strength and coordination on the part of the crew.

To help ease and pace this extraordinary labor, the men sang "chanteys" or worksongs. Generally a leader would sing out the first line of the song by himself, to be answered with another line sung in harmony by the rest of the crew. The songs or lines were drawn from many sources, including hymns and gospel songs, blues, and barbershop quartet songs, and were often improvised.

Folklorists Michael and Debbie Luster, hired by the North Carolina Arts Council in 1988 to survey the folk culture of Carteret County, were fascinated by what they'd heard of the chantey-singing tradition. They arranged a gathering of about a dozen retired fishermen, hoping that a few might be able to recall verses or even perform some of the old songs. Though they had not sung together in more than thirty years, the singers found their parts with ease. The lines were recollected almost effortlessly when they began to pantomime the action of working the net.

The great success of the venture persuaded the men to accept an invitation to perform in public at an event sponsored by the North Carolina Maritime Museum, in Beaufort. This reunion concert brought misty eyes to the audience and singers alike, and renewed the pride of the community in these beautiful sounds that once rolled across the water.

Since that memorable occasion, the Menhaden Chanteymen, as they like to be called now, have been constantly in the public eye. They have performed for the North Carolina General Assembly and the National Council on the Arts, appeared at Carnegie Hall, and have been featured on national television and radio. And every Friday night they gather at the parish house of St. Stephen's Congregational Church in Beaufort to sing for themselves and to share the fellowship wrought by decades of rugged camaraderie at sea."
-snip-
updated Jan. 9, 2006

{visit that website for additional pages and a photo]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 01:39 PM

Bobert commented,

White is made from combining all of the basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet... You mix them colors allo together and you get white...

Black, howver, is an absence of color..


Irrelevant. NOBODY here is really white, in the sense of what you said, and NOBODY here is really black in that sense. Take me, for instance: I'm a sort of a mottled pinkish color. I've never seen Zeez, but I'd bet she's some shade approximating the color brown. And so what?

My biological forebears were all from Germany, but I don't think of myself as "German-American". I'm not culturally particularly German. I'm an American (United-Statesian?), who shares a lineal background going back to Germany at a certain period, but even that doesn't say much, because Germany contains (and did then) a lot of mixed streams of peoples going back to ancient, ancient times.

If "African-American" means that one's United States biological ancestors came at some point from Africa, then all of us in the US are "African-American", just because we're homo sapiens.

But of course none of that really relates too much to Azizi's thought, problem, whatever you want to call it. I think she's said pretty much that what she's talking about is more rooted in the culture she has a great historical stake in than race as such. If I'm wrong, I stand to be corrected.

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:22 PM

It occurs to me from reading this thread and reflecting on some of its posts, that much if not all of my "problem" is that which others probably {most assuredly?} have had in different contexts at Mudcat-
when, how, how often, and how much does a person who cares deeply about a subject respectfully share information that differs from an opinion that another person has given. I think that these questions are even more pertinent when the person who differs or wants to share information sees herself or him self or considers herself or himself {and perhaps also is seen by others to be} an "insider"-meaning she or he is the only one or one of few people who has a certain kind of direct experience or inside information about that which she or he wants to talk about.

In other words [gee Gulliver, you've made me aware that I really can be longwinded; that's because of my Sagittarius Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter placements :o)] I'm not the only person on Mudcat who feels strongly about a particular opinion, or position, or culture. But unfortunately, most times I've been the only African American person and the only person of color {which is a catch-all category which includes African Americans} to post on threads about race. Given my temperment and my interest, I do feel a considerable degree of "protectiveness" about African American cultures. There have been comments that I've disregarded, and some that I chose to respond to. The reason why I respond on the record-within that thread-is because as I've mentioned previously, I'm mindful of the fact that people can access Mudcat threads in months and years to come, and I don't want information that I conside to be erroneous or incomplete to be out there and not contested.

Also, I admit, that I feel a certain degree {perhaps too much} responsiblity to add to the record in situations when I am posting to a thread and a comment comes up that I feel needs to be addressed. I admit that I don't want future readers to think "How could that Black woman continue posting to that thread and say anything about what has been said?.

However {And}, I'm also very mindful of the fact that what should always be most important is the message and not me. What I mean by this is that I should be very careful not to add information to a thread or differ with a person because of self-promotion.

Well, every now and then I feel I can promote my website, http://www.cocojams.com/. But that's a different kind of self-promotion since that website is about sharing and preserving cultural artifacts, and isn't really about promoting me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:25 PM

I saw the Menhaden shanty group in Mystic, Conn. a few years ago. They were quite a hit, and did several demos of play-party games, as well as the songs they sing on the job.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:34 PM

Correction:

I meant to write:

Also, I admit, that I feel a certain degree {perhaps too much} responsiblity to add to the record in situations when I am posting to a thread and a comment comes up that I feel needs to be addressed. I admit that I don't want future readers to think "How could that Black woman continue posting to that thread and not say anything about what has been said?.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:40 PM

The question is not why you have to (and should, imo) reply to those types of posts, Azizi. The question is why those types of posts appear here at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:04 PM

Well, Bruce, it depends on the meaning of "those types of posts".

When I and others consider the posts to be racist, sometimes I feel the need to respond to them, sometimes I wish others would-and you and others have-and sometimes I and others report those kind of posts to the moderators who delete them.

But my post which questions when, how etc to respond refers to the times when other people post a comment about Black people and Black culture that I disagree with or which I feel can be misconstrued.

I also need to say that I feel that the fact that I'm usually the only publicly acknowledged Black person or person of color} posting on a Mudcat thread-or one of a few Black people and other people of color- is further complicated because I am learning so much about that aspects of Black cultures from other folks here {such as the discussion about chantey singers and discussions about blues}.

I don't want it to seem as though I think that I am {or other people think that I think that I am} Mudcat's expert on Black cultures.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:26 PM

It also occurs to me that I started another Mudcat thread which is pertinent to this thread. Here's the link to that thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=88950
BS: Responses To Racism

Here's an excerpt of my first post to that thread:

BS: Responses To Racism
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 01:34 PM

I'm back!
...

First, I would like to thank all those who wrote public and/or private messages to me about my decision to leave Mudcat.
I very much appreciate all of those messages.

I had decided to leave Mudcat because I felt that I was blindsided by what was -in my opinion- a particularly offensive post by a Mudcat member. The thread's title appeared to be one that had nothing to do with race or racism. The offensive post was the thread's first comment. After that first comment, most posters on that thread ignored the offensive comment and talked about issues related to that thread's subject. However, at least one member commented about the racist comment before I posted my comment.
After I wrote my comment, several other persons posted comments that also spoke out about that first comment.

In hindsight, I believe that if I had not had a particularly traumatic day at work, I may not have reacted as I did to that post. But my work is often traumatic, so perhaps that is not the reason.
I just think that I had one of those moments when it all became too much. As I said in my post that was deleted along with the rest of that thread, what bothered me more than the racist comment was the fact that most people ignored it. [btw, there was absolutely no allusions-that post was openly racist]

Ignoring racist and otherwise offensive posts may be the perferred strategy for Mudcat forum's members. I admit that this is the tactic that I usually use. Most of the times, I don't even open a BNP thread, or other such threads. But I'm wondering now if the practice [policy?] of ignoring such post might not send a message that Mudcat doesn't mind racism.

Furthermore, deleting the responses to that racist posts may mean that teaching & sharing moments were lost. But since the offensive post was the first one in the thread, would my comment and others speaking out against it make sense if only the first comment and not the entire thread been deleted? Should the first post been deleted and the thread declared closed? That is not my call to make.

But I wonder what folks here think should be the appropriate response when I and others are confronted with racist and offensive remarks.

If we email Joe and ask that the thread be deleted or closed, then if we feel the need or the desire to share our feelings about this experience in the public forum, where should we do that? Maybe some people might think that sharing a personal response to racism shouldn't be done at all on this public forum. However, I disagree.

That's the main reason why I'm back. I feel the need to talk to 'Catters about my response {reaction?}to that offensive post and the lack of comments in the thread about that post. I should say that a number of members have PMed me to say that had they seen that post, they would have responded on that thread. I thanked them privately and I want to thank them publicly.

And perhaps I should say what should go without saying-I have talked to people in the real world outside of Mudcat, about this experience. But I feel the need to know what 'Catters think about this. Should people ignore offensive posts? If so, what about the feelings those posts cause? I think that ignoring them would be unhealthy. And what about sharing feelings and insight about these types of experiences with the community at large? Isn't there some value to that?

I guess I could have stayed gone. But I like it here. And as some of you have said in your PMs to me, the racist poster would win if I decided to leave because of him.

So here I am...

Thanks, again. You all know who you are.


Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:47 PM

'Well, Bruce, it depends on the meaning of "those types of posts".'

I mean racist posts. Those people should go get stiffed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:03 PM

The posts by Gargoyle are still here or have been returned. Azizi, they are complimentary (in gargoyle's peculiar style).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:41 PM

I think this thread could use some relevant musical content. So here is a YouTube clip of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who are currently on a short tour in Ireland, England and France. (There is a thread about it up in the music section of the Mudcat.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:45 PM

Also including gigs in Scotland Holland an d Belgium. (I don't want to start one of our arguments about that kind of stuff...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:50 PM

Certainly there is great interest in Afro-American shanties..and people who are in the shanty community so to speak are probably pretty aware of contributions...I remember a Seattle Public Library record that had a wonderful group of African American men doing at least one shanty I listened to over and over..maybe Don's sister in law Ph. could resurrect it..it was so great...a roll song...not rolling home..not ...well, I might think of it. I was unaware of the "cunjine???sp??" songs that required a special step for muscling bags of sugar up or down the gangplank. Lots of the rivershanties.

Then we get into the railroad songs...but if we have several generations now of people who think "it is not black enough" and ridicule each other if they sing "I've been working on the railroad"...we have a problem. Let people like what they like. I love lots of music from the African heritage..sppirituals, the South African group singing..the Jamacain..oh I guess not African...but lots and lots..even I don't mind non-nasty rap music..I will say I can not listen to jazz without getting into a nervous feeling like I am about to have an epileptic fit..it jangles my nerves something awful...but to each his/her own. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: robomatic
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:56 PM

Bobert writted:
"
White is made from combining all of the basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet... You mix them colors allo together and you get white...

Black, howver, is an absence of color...

So to all my white friends here: you is da' colored people!!!


If I recall some old recordings of George Bernard Shaw, he was fond of referring to his fellow islanders as 'pink' and of course for a musical angle there used to be a group in the US Northwest called: "The Amazing Pink Things"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:58 PM

"Pale" and "dark" are much more accurate terms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:01 PM

Pink is not accurate for most. In my family, we have a range of colours from fair to tan, almost all of us freckled which leads to a kind of mottled mix of skin tones. My arms are covered with freckles so much they are a myriad of shades.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:14 PM

Hells bells what relevance does the actual colour have? Focussing on that is to trivialise the whole thing.

There are a set of people who have been systematically marginalised by a society.

A person of that descent has the willpower to say that this society, the 'cat, repeatedly appears to reflect (albeit in I hope a less strident form) that marginalisation, and to diminish reflections on it.

For shame.

We do not have to imagine racism where it does not exist, if it does not so exist, but let us think before utterances that may rankle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:15 PM

Azizi realizes something that very few of the others here seem to understand. Posting to Mudcat is makes it part of "The Permanent Record". It isn't just that Mudcat discussions are are a record preserved for the indefinite future--Mudcat threads are always in the first few Google results when the keywords match.

This came up first, for instance, when the search terms were "people of color, difficult":

BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color From: Mrrzy Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:45 AM One question, Azizi - are you an American? ...
www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=108931&messages=6 - 33k - Cached - Similar pages


Though that excercise seems a bit like stacking the deck, the fact is that, if you take keywords from any current thread and google it, the thread will come up, not only for you but for any one of the Millions of daily googlers who happen to type them in.

So logic dictates that, if the subject of a Mudcat thread is important to you, that you want to make sure that all the important points are made, and that inaccuracies, distortions, and false statements were properly refuted.

That's what it's about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:24 PM

For the further past though, it's not too surprising that black Americans wouldn't know about sailing traditions.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with some local folk musicians I met while living in South Carolina around 15 years ago. I had been singing some Oz songs and some shanties and they commented that they didn't know of any shanties 'from the South'. Without missing a beat I launched into Roll Alabama Roll. I might be wrong about its specific provenance (being from Oz and all, but they didn't correct me) and I didn't get into others that deal more directly with the cotton trade from the South but I was surprised this one wasn't right near the tops of their heads.

Perhaps the things that are intimately familiar to us (but not very problematic), when growing up, are not 'top of the pops' in our thinking much later on. This would be epecially true if those things were ones we were trying to change into something else that was 'better'.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: curmudgeon
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:59 PM

The CSS Alabama was a Confederate warship know for it's proclivity for sinking New England ships. It, n turn was sunk by the USS Kearsarge. The song commemorates this final action and would not have been looked kindly upon in the South, had they a clue about the history.

This reminds me of a friend who served with the USAF Pipe Band back in the 60s. While somewher below the Mason-Dixon line, they were asked, "Can y'all play a Southern tune?"
Whereapon the band struck up "Marching Through Georgia." No one got it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 06:28 PM

"would not have been looked kindly upon in the South." Not if your sympathies were with the secessionists. But I'd imagine that wouldn't be likely to include too many of those people in the South whose ancestors at the time were slaves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 07:04 PM

"Can y'all play a Southern tune?"
Whereupon the band struck up "Marching Through Georgia."


Well, ignorant as I was (being from Oz and all), I knew better than to play that one in South Carolina. But it reminded me of the little old lady who lived next door to us when we were in Columbia. At 83 she was the epitome of southern graciousness associated with the "white" part of antebellum society and, being keen to meet these Australians living next door, she invited us to (what we'd call) afternoon tea.

I thought I knew all the terms, factual and euphemistic for the American Civil War (you know, "Agressions from the North", "War between the States" etc) but she floored me with a new one; "The late unpleasantness". In 1993!

The people who were providing us with accommodation there also thought of themselves as untainted with 'racially-derived' attitudes and were kindness itself. To show us the route from home to USC (the original, not the Californian pretenders) they drove us in their car for a few trips and then I used a bicycle we'd been loaned. It seemed a rather roundabout route but it wasn't until I acquired a map (a story in itself) that I discovered a much more direct route. The direct route went through suburbs dominated by African Americans, while the one they showed us went through suburbs where more money was in evidence.

Perhaps they were trying to protect us but I often walked the direct route with my 15 month-old daughter in a pusher (what's called a stroller in the US) and I never had anything other than a pleasant conversation with those I met; I rarely met anyone, let alone someone with whom a conversation was possible, in the other suburbs.

Which I found interesting. And relevant to this thread.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 08:35 PM

Richard - Your post of 27 Feb 08 - 05:14 PM is admirable.

"what relevance does the actual colour have? Focussing on that is to trivialise the whole thing."

And that of course is the point of the posts in question ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 09:10 PM

But Azizi has a point that ought not to be trivialised.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 09:14 PM

The merit of "Dark" and "Pale" rather than to "Black" and "White" is to remind us that most people are at the same time darker than some other people and paler than others. And of course some people who are counted as "Black" are paler than others are counted as "White", and the other way round as well.

Because, of course, it isn't about colour of skin as such, at least in theory. That's why Hispanics in the USA can be any colour. It's about ethnicity, or what is perceived as ethnicity, and about the treatment some ethnic groups have had imposed on them over the years and the centuries.
.................

What Azizi said, about the way that the history of slavery and what came after can perhaps predispose African Americans against seeing the past as something they want to value, makes lot of sense.

I was reminded of what I have heard about how, at one time anyway, aspects of Jewish culture associated with Eastern Europe, including the Yiddish language and Klezmer music, were by some seen as things to be rejected, as too painfully linked with the Holocaust. And I think there are other examples of a similar process.

That would suggest that in time there could be a reawakening of interest in the African American musical heritage, as appears to have happened in other groups with painful histories. (And that's one reason I put in that link to the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who seem to represent that kind of process - though my main reason was because they make great music, and deserve to be brought to wider attention.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 09:53 PM

Someone else was going on about pink. I don't like being called pink or white same as some don't like being called black, as in my former son-in-law who calls himself mahogany. One can check any of my many posts throughout my time on Mudcat to find I am no racist.

Re' down South. I have a friend from Pennsylvania who has also lived in Rhode Island for much of her life. She and her husband moved to a smallish town in N. Carolina a few years ago. She told me the other day she can't count the number of times she's been called a "damn Yankee" with a followed reference to the "war." Amazing how much people will hang on to such hatred.

I wonder if we will ever get away from labels. I asked my daughter about this recently since she has twin boys who are of mixed race. I asked her if they identify with the father's ethnic background more then hers or vice versa. They live in an area with what the officials term a majority of minorities...African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and all kinds of mixes. She told me by and large, she and her friends who are parents, grandparents, etc. just identify their kids as all being part of the human race. They are not being raised to identify with any one ethnic identity. It's difficult to describe it the way she did, but it seems to be a pretty healthy way with less discrimination, while still enjoying the cultural diversities that come with it. I guess one would call it a multi-cultural upbringing which is reflected throughout the community, including the schools, businesses, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 09:57 PM

One other note, I am uncomfortable using the term "mixed race." It doesn't seem accurate. My grandsons are half Antiguan of African descent and half American of English/Irish/Scottish/Native American descent.

I also want to reword the following: They live in an area with what the officials term a majority of minorities...African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and all kinds of mixes.

They live in an area in which minorities are in the majority.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:52 PM

"But Azizi has a point that ought not to be trivialised."

Exactly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Janie
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 12:15 AM

From Richard's 5:14 post of today:

We do not have to imagine racism where it does not exist, if it does not so exist, but let us think before utterances that may rankle.

No, we do not have to imagine racism where it does not exist, but the fact is that sometimes happens. It is called projection.   Although I am not responsible for some one else's projection, I can understand the hows and whys that it happens. When that some one else "speaks their truth", which I perceive to be projection, says 'end of conversation', and walks out, slamming the door behind them, they have just left me holding their bag of garbage. All I can do at that point is drop it in the can to be pushed out to the curb on Thursday morning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 12:23 AM

'When that some one else "speaks their truth", which I perceive to be projection, says 'end of conversation', and walks out, slamming the door behind them ...'

I can't think of anything that would be further from what Azizi has done in this thread ... Did I miss the post where she said 'end of conversation' and walked out, slamming the door?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 01:10 AM

Not really relevant here but I found it interesting:

Today I turned the television on just in time to hear a researcher inform a Black man that according to US freedmen records, his forebears had been enslaved by the Chickasaw nation, not by Whites. The Black man sat there stunned; after a moment he said that he doesn't even know what to think about it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Megan L
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 03:38 AM

Count your blessings


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:12 AM

I didn't know the Chickasaw nation ever operated any slave ships from Africa.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 06:38 AM

I believe that there often is a cumulative, straw that broke the camel's back effect that occurs when I {and/or any other individual} respond to comments or actions that "bother" me {him/her}.

I started this thread in reaction to certain comments made by two posters in another thread whose link I provided upthread. In retrospect, it probably wasn't fair to those posters for me to provide that link in the first place. Also, my then not referring specifically to the comments that they raised or linking to those comments may have compounded that mistake. My not doing so may have caused some people to suspect that these posters' comments were something horrendous and deeply offensive. However, while I was and I am very troubled by those comments, I don't think that they were "horrendous and deeply offensive". Actually, it was difficult for me to pinpoint and to put into words what troubled me about those comments and why I was so troubled. It's taken me some time and several tries to realize and to articulate this.

In hindsight, I believe that it would have been better for me to have started this thread and not referred specifically to any posts or any thread that was the impetus for me starting this thread. Because of this belated realization, I apologize to both of those posters.

I have exchanged pms with both posters who wrote the comments that I took exception to. In both cases, the posters pmed me first, and I responded to them. I did not think that the pms that I received or sent were argumentative or hostile. As I said, or at least meant to say on this thread, I absolutely do not believe either one of these posters are racist. I also don't believe that I am racist. Yet we are all products of our cultural upbringings and experiences. Given all sorts of reasons, I may be misunderstanding the points that those two posters made, and either one of them or both of them may be misunderstanding me.

I believe that it would compound the problem if I posted excerpts of or links to the comments from those threads which bothered me. Needless to say, I will respect confidentiality and not post the content of pms. People who might be interested in reading those comments in the context of the rest of that thread are free to visit the thread in question.

However, for the matter of the record, although it may seem to be out of context, I feel the need to say this:

I believe that Black people in American societies have been and to a large degree still are measured by idealized White standards of speech and conduct. According to those Eurocentric standards, Black people are acceptable and good to the degree that they {we}approach the most idealized White standard.

I believe that Eurocentric standards are racist and I believe that they are deeply rooted in American society. Part of this once overtly pervasive and still deepseated viewpoint is the belief that light skinned Black people are more acceptable than Black people. According to this racist viewpoint, lighter skinned Black people are more acceptable to White people than darker skinned Black people not only because their skin color and, perhaps, their hair texture, and facial bone structure is closer to that of the pale skinned, Nordic White person {who is held as the ideal White person in physical characteristics}, but also because light skinned Black people are assumed {by virtue of their skin color} to have a better chance of "talking and acting White". In other words, those who hold this erroneous, simplistic, racist viewpint believe that Black people who are light skinned and Black people who are dark skinned act {and talk} differently. According to this deep rooted belief system, the darker a Black person is the more ghetto he or she will act {with "ghetto" here not only meaning the worse that a person could be and could act, but the worse that a Black person-or any other person-could be and act and still be considered a human being}. Indeed, some people still do not believe that Black people are people.

Furthermore, another-or perhaps the same-deeply rooted racist belief in the United States that one rarely hears now in our politically correct communication, is when Black people of mixed Black/White biological ancestry excell, it is because of "the White part" of their biological ancestry.

I want all races/ethnicities to be valued and to receive the same consideration, respect, and treatment under the law, and in all other aspects of life by all people.

Given the viewpoint, Barack Obama is acceptable to White people because, these people think, he's not that dark skinned, he "talks and acts White" and his birth mother was White.

Note: the quotation marks are not quotes from the posts that I referred to. Instead, I've put these comments in quotation marks to designate that these comments are not what I believe, but are commonly given sayings.

My concluding statement is this:

I want race to be a non-issue. I do not want Black people or any other people of color to be acceptable to White people only to the degree that they are preceived by White people to talk and act in a manner that has generally been called "talking White" and "acting
White".

I believe that the "talking Black" and "acting Black" and "talking White" and "acting White" memes are stereotypical in their essence as Black individuals talk and act a myriad number of ways at different times and in different contexts, and so do White individuals. In my opinion, given the deeply woven European ethnocentrism of the United States*, embedded in those commonly used phrases is the belief and implication that "Black is bad" and "White is good".

*I've limited my comment to the USA, but suspect that this is true elsewhere.

Again, I am writing this because I feel the need to do so. I accept that this may be seen by some to be muddying the water more than clearing the air, and if so, I'm sorry about that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 06:49 AM

Correction to my cut and pasting:

The sentence "I want all races/ethnicities to be valued and to receive the same consideration, respect, and treatment under the law, and in all other aspects of life by all people." was supposed to be the first sentence of my concluding statement.

However, that sentence bares repeating.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: MaineDog
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:40 AM

there you go!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:04 AM

I believe this thread, in the long view, will be one of the more valuable Mudcat threads. It is a virtual smorgasbord of modern day responses to racism. It demonstrates clearer than any song, or single essay, that racism, and racial/cultural misunderstanding, is alive, well, and completely misunderstood by most folks. We see in one place the code words, the class guilt, the trivializers, the do gooders wanting to save folks, we see those folks who are trying their best, with varying degrees of success, to understand and grow ........ and one brave, and well spoken, woman who cares enough to try, with great grace, to explain a very difficult subject. I applaud her.

I once made the observation to her that she brings a unique perspective to this place. In addition to expressing some frustration with that (in a very gentle way), she also indicated that she tries to focus less on what things are, and more on the how and why of it. I would suggest to all that that is such a valuable perspective that we need to appreciate it. It really isn't much different than when we hear the folks that lived in the North of Ireland under those conditions, or the folks who lost loved ones in IRA bombings. These things are so valuable because they allow us to dump our perceptual biases and generalizations, and see through the eyes of friends who have walked the path. It brings enlightenment, and ultimately can lead to a more balanced look at the world.

I appreciate your stepping out front on this, Azizi. I appreciate your motive, and I recognize the difficulty of it. I admire the strength you show in defending your right to express and value yourself based on the traditions, values, and the culture of those who came before you. I am grateful to you for taking your time to try and explain and educate those of us whose backgrounds are different.

Great thread,

All the best,

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:12 AM

I find Azizi's posts to be quite considered and reserved. I have seen (read) some instances of racism--usually prompted by ignorance, but on occasion malice--that have been thrown Azizi'a way. I guess until ya walk a mile in her shoes it is difficult to understand the feelings that must engender. The instances, a dozen or so, remain in my memory. Mostly those folks have gone away or now they post as guests.

Reality is a perception, but perceptions generate their own reality, too. To deny what Azizi feels is to deny her reality on a few occasions here on Mudcat. And having read the posts myself, I agree with her. This place IS difficult for 'People of Colour'. But, it's getting better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:17 AM

McGrath, not slave ships, slave owning. Many of the American Indian nations had wealthy members, landowners who owned slaves. Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Natchez, etc. I won't try to characterize the conditions, same or different from white slave ownership, but there are accounts if you wish to find them. This was generally prior to when the U.S. stomped down on the Southeastern tribes and "removed" or relocated them to tribal lands in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:19 AM

I believe that Black people in American societies have been and to a large degree still are measured by idealized White standards of speech

English as a language is subject to standards of spelling and grammar that are not white or black, but originate in an agreed set of rules as expressed in the Oxford English Dictionary and elsewhere. The ability to communicate in English in an articulate fashion is subject to these same standards, and is the product of education, awareness, and intelligence. Those who consistently display an inability to communicate clearly and articulately are considered, in my opinion, ignorant and uneducated, and sometimes stupid, whether black, white, rich, poor, and regardless of their background. For any one in an English-speaking culture who wishes to be clearly understood and who wishes to succeed in any endeavor, a mastery of the language has always been a strong tool to that end. Obama understands this, I believe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:20 AM

Hummm...this may launch another entirely different set of discussions..

Azizi says: I believe that Black people in American societies have been and to a large degree still are measured by idealized White standards of speech and conduct. According to those Eurocentric standards, Black people are acceptable and good to the degree that they {we}approach the most idealized White standard.

Very true, but perhaps a bit limited in scope. IMHO, all people in the US are measured by standards based upon those held by the minority group that we hate to refer to as WASPs - that is, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Not to trivialize the oppression experienced by the citizens of this nation who are of African descent, just about every other group who has come here over the centuries has experienced discrimination to one degree or another, and the extent of that discrimination increases in direct proportion to their deviation from that WASP norm. It decreases as they move toward that norm (i.e., become "Americanized") and, I think, actually increases if a group tries to maintain their socio-ethnic distinction and separation. Where Black Americans are more disadvantaged in this process than most other groups is in their physical distinctiveness; that is, even if he or she conforms in dress, speech and manner (and please understand that I'm not saying they should), a very dark skinned person with short "kinky" hair is going to stand out more than a fully assimilated, third generation Bulgarian. In most cases, unfortunately or not, those who stand out are shut out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:22 AM

As Stilly said, many slaveholders were native americans. In Oklahoma, for this reason, most tribes fought on the side of the Confederacy in the Civil War.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:23 AM

Sorry, Mick. I hadn't read your post when I pressed submit. You said it much better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 11:12 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 11:15 AM

My point was that the essential element in allowing slave-owning to have a place in North America was the existence of the Atlantic slave trade. The fact that slave owners included Native Americans, and indeed some people of African descent, as well those with European roots, is interesting, and it is right to bring it to the attention of people - but it's a secondary matter.

None of us have any part whatsoever in the actions of our ancestors, bad or good. The kind of shame (or pride) which seems to claim that we do is misplaced. And it can be a distraction from the responsibility which every generation has in relation to the crimes of the past, which is to try to undo the evil effects which may carry on into the present, and to learn lessons from the past and apply them for the future.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 12:45 PM

There are so many Mudcatters and people outside of Mudcat who have done so much more than I have to fight for an advance the cause of equality for all. If starting this thread, and posting my thoughts to it have helped advance that cause, good. However, I didn't start this conversation because I had that lofty goal.

Also, I feel the need to say that the points that I've been trying to make in this thread are different than those points that I tried to make in the Response To Racism thread. {Btw. isn't it interesting that those threads were starting a week and two years apart from each other? That certainly wasn't planned}

In that Response to Racism thread, the question I raised was how members of a community should respond to overtly racist commentary. The comments which that the impetus for this thread were more about how people perceive persons of different races, and the misunderstandings that may occur via the written word between people of different races.

That said, since this thread focuses on racism, in the next two posts that I submit to this thread, I'm going to take the liberty to add the words of Hilda Fish-another Mudcatter who is a person of color.

I haven't seen any posts from Hilda for a while. And I didn't ask her prior permission to repost her comments on this thread. However Hilda Fish had given me permission to repost her comments on a page on my website about race & racism. {I've since retired that page to focus that website on rhymes, chants, cheers, and "non-traditional" personal names}. Given her previous permission, I don't think that Hilda Fish would mind me reposting her comments on this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 12:47 PM

Subject: RE: BS: Responses To Racism
From: hilda fish - PM
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:05 PM

Azizi I'm back too but just for a min. I've already posted you about my anger re racism at another time and I just need to say a little more on this. It hurts it hurts it hurts. Sometimes I just have to grab my throat to stop the sob. Ultimately that's what it's about whether its print, internet, face to face, whatever. It breaks the heart. I find that there is a point where I have to withdraw I am so enraged. It's no good ignoring stuff in the hope it will go away. It doesn't as history shows. Confronting and challenging it wherever it pokes up, like ripping out a bad weed before it kills the garden when it's too late, is my answer. And by the way black is what we have all become who are not 'white' - many Indigenous people are neither 'black' nor 'white' in looks but are black in psychology and the impact historically and in the day to day of racist comments, attitudes etc. ultimately kill the hope of our children from the instant they are born. It's a bit of a platitude to say to develop a thick skin - my people have done that in order to survive and still it hurts. The 'thick skin' response is also a form of denial of racism and how it impacts on many people in this worl. Its not just that we get a bit sulky you know. It puts most of us on the bread line, homeless, uneducated, unemployed, dispossessed in more ways than can be said, dying horrible deaths. It's not afternoon tea. Racism is racism - it is not anything else. Anti-racism is not feminism - it is not communism, it is not left thought. It is something I demand or my fellow human beings make a stand on in order that we are not so continually demeaned as a group. See, here I go again!!! It rips my heart out and it makes me wild! I can never ignore it and I am embarrassing and obnoxious often enough in my attempts to grab it's head and rip it off. I stutter and stammer for words but I will not let anyone get away with it if I can help it. Thick skins I think we have a plenty wouldn't you agree Azizi? It's the heart that is always human. It breaks and breaks. Racism!! If I could just grab hold of it, take it to the river and drown it I would be a happy person. As a famous Oz once said, I luv yoos all, but not some.xx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 12:48 PM

Subject: RE: BS: Responses To Racism
From: hilda fish - PM
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 01:00 AM

I just can't see that there is a problem saying THAT IS OFFENSIVE - THAT IS RACIST - IT DEMEANS ME - IT DEMEANS YOU - IT DEMEANS WHAT IS HUMAN IN US ALL. IT IS NOT RIGHT. IT IS NOT SOMETHING I'M PREPARED TO LET GO BY UNCHALLENGED. IT IS CRUEL, DANGEROUS AND MURDEROUS AND IF I WAS IN YOUR FACE YOU'D CERTAINLY FEEL HOW I FEEL ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING. GET THIS INTO YOUR HEAD - RACISM IS AN INSULT. I AM CALLING YOU A RACIST. GO AWAY!!!!! To name it and attack it is a good start I think. A story - I was once at a pub with a friend. It was a social meeting between a big group of people of like mind. Various people were getting up to talk about things. It was all pretty progressive and 'good'. Then this guy got up and in response to an article in a newspaper stated that Aboriginal people were more aligned with animals than human - that white people were superior and it was time that Indigenous (Blak) people got the picture. And so on. Everyone listened politely while I started steaming. Oh dear I thought, waiting for my 'friends' to rip him to shreds one way or another. They didn't. There was a lot of polite discussion about how what he said was unacceptable. Un...f...acceptable! I was dying there by what he said and I was dying there because no-one (here you are Azizi) was watching my back. Here we go again I thought. I have to stand up and name this crap and condemn it because no-one else is gonna. They don't even see it. Or they believe in 'freedom of speech', 'politeness'. I thought for a minute and realised no-one was going to listen so I launched myself out of my chair and gave him a mighty smack in the mouth. Everyone grabbed me but I did get a good kick in.    I was hauled out of the pub and banned. Well. I was shaking and in a shocking way but I felt good - not belittled or victimised - but good. Now those who know me know that I am pretty mouthy sometimes but not violent. The worst I mostly do is getting into a swearing frenzy and walk away but truly, mostly I am polite, ladylike, blah blah blah. Some Koories in the front bar came out and sat with me. We sat together and then various people including my friends came out and condemned me at first for being 'violent'. We talked and basically I said they were gutless for not naming and challenging it - they said they had left that to me. Why me? They saw it too. Why always us to deal with this stuff? Everyone knows about the lynchings and the shootings and all the terrible stuff that is given permission through racist words and racist deeds. Sometimes I am beyond words as my people are sometimes so beyond words that all we can do is scream, go mad, and yes, smack someone in the mouth. The guy said he'd never speak like that again in front of me if that is the result. What did I care what the racist creep thought. He hadn't cared about me or my blood. All I can say is name it, challenge it, reject it in all its forms. Its not a polite discussion you know. Good phrase Azizi - "need to know and see is that somebody's got our back". I'd like to rely on that as one human being to another. Life has shown that I can't - yet. And yeah, come to Sydney Azizi and stay with me or Freda. You can see how Australia practises its racism!! There are many forms (just joking heh heh). Oh, the first time I heard "Strange Fruit" was in Melbourne at a folk club such a long time ago. Everyone thought it was a terrific song - I was the only Aboriginal there and I cried and cried and cried once I got what it was about. Everyone thought I was drunk!! How awful and sad is that song? What can I say? Rest in peace all my brothers and sisters on this planet who no longer walk the earth because someone did not like your skin. I honor your short lives and your suffering and will not forgive so easily and well not let racism have a healthy life wherever I meet it. Rest in peace. That's the bottom line isn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bee
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 01:14 PM

The best thing I can say is that I hope we are all living in a time and place where racism, overt or subtle, is lessening. I hope the next generations of Bees and Azizis and McGraths and Janies and all will be able to read archived conversations like this one with the same degree of detachment I feel when reading about the Highland Clearances. That is, that our forebears suffered opression and evil acts in the past that have little or no effect on my present circumstances, or that our forebears committed these acts of opression with similar present lack of effect.

Such hurts live on for generations, the significance of their effects to some extent related to the magnitude of the original crimes. In the case of the Clearances, for example, very few North Americans of Scottish Ancestry could honestly complain that they are now significantly the worse for those events. But my father, five generations out of the Isles, and normally a non-political, quiet and gentle man, was moved to say one day, when observing a ceremonial visit to Cape Breton of a Scottish 'Clan Chief', "Look at them, fawning over that person whose family didn't know or care about them and their children, or where they went or whether they lived or died. They are fools."

I was young, and shocked by the bitterness in his tone, because it was out of character. But later I learned how his generation, and his father's generation literally had the Gaelic beaten out of them in order to make them 'civilized'. And I learned family stories that dated back five generations and more, from humourous events and ghost stories to intelligent evaluations of particular diseases and conditions to which our family seems to have been predisposed for many generations.

I am not by any means comparing the African American history of slavery and racism with the opression of the Highland Scots in order of magnitude. I am just hoping that healing can happen, as it has for my family and others over the generations.

I have no idea if what I just wrote conveys what I wanted to express, and apologise for being inarticulate if no one else can grasp it either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 01:23 PM

What you said makes sense to me Bee.
G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 01:32 PM

Bee, I agree with what you said.

But as long as institutional racism is so pervasive, and as long as institutional racism continues to result in more generations lost, how can we ever really move from the past?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 01:57 PM

I think institutional racism is the part that good hearted people just don't get, Azizi. Because they, and most folks they know, aren't overtly racist, they delude themselves into thinking that it isn't there. If all things are equal, folks, no matter if you cut them by race, shoe size, religion, or color of hair, should appear in the various strata of society (jobs, housing, level of education, jail,etc) in roughly the same percentages they appear in the population. One need only look at the numbers for people of color to understand that we have a problem. The racist makes the argument for genetic and intellectual inferiority. But these morons have a short view of history. In the last two centuries on this continent, as well as the last 9 centuries in Europe, it was variously the Irish, Germans, Italians, Polish, etc., that were accused of the same. One still sees the remnants of institutional bias, and its effects on all segments of society, in the North of Ireland. One can say it ain't so till skippy comes home, but the numbers tell the story. We are wasting the precious potential of a large segment of our youth, and dooming our society, by refusing to see that this exists and MUST be dealt with.

The African descended peoples deal with an additional burden. My own folks could hide, or "pass", in order to be successful. We changed the spellings on our names, and hid our ethnicity. But one cannot hide the color of their skin. And so it went on and on. It is germane that I just this past few minutes walked in from having lunch in the local restaraunt. I live in a very rural and white part of West Michigan. I group of young men walked in, and one was a young African American kid. I found myself thinking what a great looking kid he was, but you should have seen the guarded looks. And he was aware of it. Now, I know some of these folks, and they aren't bad folks, and probably weren't even aware that they were making him uncomfortable. But it was clear what was going on. The moment for that young man was difficult.

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 02:20 PM

Institutional racism/sexism/etc-ism is diabolical. I grew up poor. Missed more than a few meals as a kid, despite the best efforts of my family to keep us fed and clean. I hated going to school because I had patches in my school pants and no one else did. The cash just wasn't there in those days to go buy another pair, so ya made do. I was teased about it and platitudinal remarks from teachers and other well-meaning folks just did nothing to change the way I felt back then--maybe that's where my 'fu#k you' attitude came from. That aside and to the point, because IMO the two issues do go together for the purpose of this post, I had gone to take a pee and a fellow was already in the can. (This was in Grade 4 or so.) We finished our business and lo, there upon the tiled floor was $.25. THAT was a small fortune in those days. We didn't know what to do about it so I said, "Eeny, meeny, miney mo, catch a nig" and stopped there, because the look of pain I saw on his face was one I knew I'd felt on my own face more than a few times. You see, "Allan" was Black. Over the years he and I came to be able to talk about it, but it was that day I found out lots about language, thoughtlessness and the power of words. "Allan" and I later played football on the same team, and we came to enjoy each other's company off the field, but that was always there in the background.

There are many things we can control, and to the extent we can we should. Institutional stuff can be changed, too, but not unless we actively effect that change. We can do that by NOT tolerating it AT ALL in our lives, places of work, places of business, places of play.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 02:49 PM

Well said Peace

My folks were immigrants of a different faith and race from their host country when they arrived in the UK fleeing persecution because of that difference.
Like Mick's folks they sought to disguise their ethnicity and 'fit in' by changing their family name.

One aspect of that 'heritage' I still cleave to were written by the daughter of Holocaust survivors....

'For my mother and father, Judaism meant bearing witness, raging against injustice and foregoing silence
It meant compassion, and rescue.....These were the ultimate values.'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Amos
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 02:56 PM

My thanks to Aziz and to hilda-fish for those relayed PM posts. They show the damage caused by the embedded idiocy we call racism better than any abstract discussion could possibly do.


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bee
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 03:00 PM

All good points, regarding institutional racism, and the casual racism of language, the racial nature of the dispensation of justice, and the enforcement of poverty by reason of race and ethnicity.

And it is very true, that those of us that could hide our ethnicity have had the historical advantage, however shameful a betrayal of our parents that must have felt at one time or another.

The tendencies of humans as a species to declare the Outsider, the one who is different in appearance, speech, culture, as inferior or bad seems to be deeply rooted in prehistory. There has to be a way to start with young children and teach them that suspicion of those who are different is wrong, no matter how instinctive it may be. We rise above other instincts. There has to be a determination to make sure our leaders and politicians know that we will not accept their pandering to such prejudices, that such tactics will not win them votes or power.

I see such tactics used with success far too often, sometimes over the most trivial of differences, let alone visible ones - how many times over the years has some Alberta or British Columbia or Ontario politician used the job-seeking immigration from other provinces in the same 'enlightened' country of Atlantic Canadians as an example of a 'problem' he will address? It should disgust us all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:23 PM

However, I cannot accept that standards of speech or conduct are racist. Anyone can learn to speak and act in a particular way. Societies always value the speech and behaviour habits of their ruling classes above those of the ruled classes.

Anyone who denies this should consider the career paths of, let us say, Waheed Alli (now Lord Alli), Vincent Nelson QC, or Mr Justice Mota Singh.

Or you could contrast the behaviour of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and his uncle into whose house he came.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:26 PM

That gets us into class, which in England tends to be seen as even more significant...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:35 PM

One of England's major failings, IMO, and one of the root causes of rebellions around the world against the Empire.

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:46 PM

institutional racism, and the casual racism of language, the racial nature of the dispensation of justice, and the enforcement of poverty by reason of race and ethnicity

In so many ways, there's the nub.

While I've had some (minor and limited but discernable) success in removing institutional racism I've found that language is the hardest to change. Various experiences have led me to believe that, if we can't change our use of language, we won't make much progress in changing the other aspects of racism. Perhaps I should write "I" instead of "we" in this post.

There are others more eloquent than I'll ever be who've demonstrated the power of language and racism is, fundamentally, projection of power (whether real or imagined) and it's when I've concentrated on how I'm using language that I've been able to realise the likely effects and meanings that I've not intended.

And they're so "trivial"! "Black as the ace of spades"; relatively innocuous except where "Spade" is used as a pejorative, but "black hearted"? Perhaps it was around before Europeans started colonising Africa but it has collected layers of meaning relevant to this discussion. And there are worse that every different culture knows and uses. But until we start to exercise some control over how we use them they'll still exercise power.

And if you see me trip, feel free to set me straight.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:54 PM

I think you also have to weigh some health effects..I think it is necessary to stand up, but perhaps you can't always, each and every time. It wears the body down. I think constantly inciting anger in young men, which is done, and there is justification for their anger..but nevertheless, inciting young men to anger can result in them doing jail time among other problems. There has to be some sort of balance..keep pressing, but perhaps systematically..I don't know the answer...I know constant confrontations will have the opposite effect of what is really desired...always letting things slide is not the answer, always fighting to the end is not the ansewr for most anyway. Everyone has to work towards decency I think..to be a decent person..the one thing I have somehow retained from my semi-Irish ancestry...be decent...mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:57 PM

Education has to play a key role in it, mg, imo. That's one of the things we worked on constantly in Wyoming - human rights, in general with a focus on racism and education, education, education.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:16 PM

I think too much can be made of the power of words, once we get beyond the obviously true business about overtly offensive language.

For example, "black" and "dark" and so forth have pretty univeral connotations to do with light and shade and not being able to see in the dark and so forth, and scary things happening at night, which are far older than any contacts between people with noticeably different skin colour. That's where an expression like "black-hearted" has its source.

Changing language as a way of signaling a rejection of racist attitudes can be useful. (And it isn't just race where this kind of thing applies - for example it is as relevant in relation to disabilities, particularly learning disabilities)

But that kind of change is just a symbol. If the attitudes don't get changed the new language will be be used with the old attitudes, and will take on the same qualities. And there is a very real danger in going overboard and trying to change language that isn't intended as offensive,and isn't generally understood as offensive either. The effect can be, paradoxically enough, to triviliase issues that are far from trivial.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:49 PM

I was trying to briefly describe my own experience; I suppose I had addressed my own attitudes, realised that I wasn't deliberately being racist (or sexist or negatively discriminatory; they were all 'associated' in my case), but concentrated on actively rooting out aspects of my language and behaviour I thought were inappropriate. In my case, changing language was, perhaps, symbolic but I think it was also substantive in that it allowed me to be more active in addressing the central issues as well as the apparently trivial. The examples I used were off the top of my head and thus 'suss' but I think you understood my drift.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 06:28 PM

Attitudes need changing in order to finally remove the burden of racism from the shoulders of the human race.

Nobody can argue with the truth of that proposition.

What is difficult is to get people to see that all of us need to change our attitudes, and I do mean all.

There are a multitude of ethnic groupings who have been disadvantaged by means of racial stereotyping at different points in the history of the human race.

True to say that the white races have been more guilty of racial discrimination than most, a situation that has been gradually improving (tho' there is obviously still some distance to go), but the necessary further change in their attitude is unlikely to be expedited by being made to feel that they should apologise for their white skin because of things their grandfathers may have done.

If someone seeks to punish me continually for the actions of generations who lived and died before I was born, and fails to notice the fact that I treat everybody the same, regardless of colour, then I am unlikely to have great respect for his point of view.

As I said, attitudes must change on both sides, and finding that balance is the biggest obstacle to be overcome.

In the last five years I have many times been called "Honkey", "Cue Ball", "Whitey", and some even nastier names by black members of a local bunch of hoodies.

If I had responded with the "N" word, I would, in all probability have had a visit from the police.

We need to remember that white people ARE an ethnic group also, and we further need to come together and agree that we are living in the 21st Century, and bury those past hurts, over which none of us had any control.

Only then can we all move on together. Until then we are merely growing the next generation of hate.

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bee
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:14 PM

Don, young punks of any ethnicity will call people names. It is most likely that somewhere, at the same time you are being harassed verbally by young Black 'hoodies', some middle aged tired Black guy on his way home from work is having the 'n' word and worse tossed in his direction by a clutch of stupid white teenaged boys. Been there, heard it from both directions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:32 PM

I am so tired of the "I didn't do that, it was people over 100 years ago" line of defense. So you are a wonderful human being that treats everyone with respecdt. So some punk calls you the names you describe. How the hell does that alibi what is clearly still happening in society today. I don't mean to denigrate your efforts to be ethical and caring human beings, but what the hell are you doing about erasing the institutional biases described above? When I hear white folks talk about "reverse discrimination" as if it erases 250 years of societal, institutional and personal discrimination. Do they not drive through poor neighborhoods where kids have so much stacked against them? Do you not get the difference between racism against a people, generations long, and the reaction to it you call "reverse racism"?

Obama is a wonderful example of how far we have come. One needs only to look to the streets to see how far we have to go.

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM

"White people" as such aren't an ethnic group. There are a large number of ethnic groups made up of "white" people, and at times relations between them can be very hairy indeed. (Think of the former Yugoslavia, for example, or Northern Ireland.)

In North America, for example, my understanding is that "Anglos" and "Hispanics" tend to be regarded and to regard themselves as belonging to different ethnic groups, even when the individuals concerned may both be "white".

This isn't just me being pedantic. It illustrates how variable and arbitrary are the ways in which we divide ourselves up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:42 PM

Mick brings up the notion that blacks cannot "escape" their distinct (from the "white" majority) appearance -- though whites found successful means of escaping class and ethnic distinction (that may have held them down) by merely changing their names.

Curious thing, that notion. Curious, because the oriental is at least as distinct from "white" in their appearence, and yet they are not constantly begging for racial understanding. In fact, statistically they are more successful at raising themselves up out of poverty than are whites.

And don't tell me they weren't downtrodden here. They were terribly downtrodden in the 18th century, with the bonus "downtrod" of internment in WWII.

The only "Institutional" racism is in the perceptions and policies demanded of the USA by the American left. They are the only ones who still think blacks incapable of achieving on their own, and, instead require government aid to be successful.

I wouldn't dream of talking down to Azizi as so many on the left here patronize her. She doesn't NEED my patronizing support, and I expect of her EXACTLY the same strength of reason and character and ability to tolerate my disagreeing with her as anyone else here with whom I disagree.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:53 PM

So then, John, perhaps you could enlighten me as to exactly why, in your opinion, we continue to see ongoing problems of inequality in education levels, higher crime rates, higher levels of single parenthood, etc, etc?

As to the distinct appearance piece, you mistate my position. It in no way alibi's the ongoing institutional racism against people of color. The skin tone issue is simply one of the factors that made it harder for African descended folks to integrate into society.

The institutional racism you lay at the feet of the left surely has some basis in fact (see my first post),but acting as though the right has no culpability is the modern day equivalent of "washing ones hands". Racism is a scourge, perpetuated in this country on folks of color primarily, that should not simply be something that we "wash our hands clean of". It must be systematically, and proactively, rooted out. Focus on the word proactively, as it is the most important word in the sentence.

So, friend John, I would like to hear your explanation as to the reasons you feel that we still have the problems we have in this country.

Thanks,

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:59 PM

The only "Institutional" racism is in the perceptions and policies demanded of the USA by the American left. They are the only ones who still think blacks incapable of achieving on their own, and, instead require government aid to be successful.

I suspect "the American left" cut very little ice in the institutionalisation of racism in Oz or the UK. While Azizi, who started the thread, is from the US, she addressed the Mudcat community and its effects. The Mudcat community (like racism) is quite international in its components and outlook and the discussion has both acknowledged and been enriched by that perspective.

But I certainly have no disagreement with the rest of your post.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:06 PM

McGrath, to the extent that "Hispanic" exists as anything else than a government-created nitch in which to put people, it is a linguistic and cultural distinction rather than an ethnic one. For example, Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, is considered Hispanic, as are the African-descended members of the population of Cuba. For that matter, so is my Panamanian son-in-law, who has red hair, very pale skin and stands 6 foot 2 inches. People in the US tend to equate Hispanic with Mexicans and Central Americans, who make up by far the majority of the Spanish-speaking or Spanish-descended population in this country. "Anglo" is another interesting word. Used primarily in the Southwest, it basically means everybody who is of European descent, including French, Italians and Irish and my Russian-Jewish wife!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:09 PM

...in the 18th century ???

I don't think so.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:12 PM

Single parenthood will lead really really fast to lots of problems. We need to approach it from a child welfare (I remain unconvinced it is healthy for many children..some will do fine)..and economic standpoint and leave out you are a bad girl notion. Instead, here is a situation you can get into with very grave results for you, and you are forcing others most likely to help pay for you....your child will not probably have a father in his/her life, and we have to really really play dumb to think that does not hurt a number of children..again, not all..if there is no father there are probably no grandparents, uncles, cousins on that whole side of the family. There are skills often passed down from father especially to son. There is the protection a father can offer. Remember those Russian men who went into a blaze of bullets from a school where their children were held hostage. Do American children deserve less? Inner city children? Appelachian children? Just yesterday a man chased a car down who had kidnapped his daughter, and he got her back. You lose that whole level of protection, and could possibly live in a neighborhood where protection is very adviseable.

And it is not insignificant that someone is called names. It is an act of violence ...you do not know if they are going to follow it up with a whack from a baseball bat. It is not a minor thing to do have adolescents roaming the streets and public transportation, where there is no escape, talking foul and in intimidating ways. It is the pathway to physical violence studies are finding.

So we know how to make peoples' lives way worse...drop out of school, do not learn a trade, (which in even a fairly bad school you can often learn something..) , use drugs or alcohol and have a baby or a series of them without a father. It applies to everyone..more to some because it is worse with poverty, but there is the poverty of spirit that so many are cursed with because it is socially acceptable to have children sans fathers. It is a tragedy many times over, and not just economically. A father who is unable to work, will never ever have a hope of work, can still cook, take his kids to school, supervise them, take them to the library etc. etc. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:15 PM

19th, I think. There were very few Asians of any ethnicity in the Americas until they came in as cheap (and disposable) labor for the expansion of the railroads after the US Civil War.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 09:18 PM

I know very little about the history, cultures of 19th, 20th, and
21st century Asians Americans {Asians in the USA}.

I also know very little about the coping mechanism that they use/d against the psychological effects of racism and discrimination.

Yet, I'm wondering if one key difference between African Americans {those who were enslaved} and Asian Americans, was that Asian Americans had strong racial/ethnic identities, and ties to a motherland/homeland while African Americans did not. It seems to me that having a strong sense of self, strong historical and cultural memories of greatness and maintaining on some level ties with a home country would strengthen the spirit and resolve of people who were facing racism and discrimination.

I'm also wondering if having those ties and memories innoculated Asians against accepting the myth of Asian inferiority that White Americans believed. I think that this is a critical difference between African Americans and Asian Americans.

For a very long time in our history in the USA and the rest of the Americans, most Black people believed that we were inferior to White people, and to all other people for that matter. I don't think that most Asians believed that.

Unfortunately, I think that some African Americans still believe that they are intellectually inferior to White people and other people.

Having a positive group identity is an important part of self-esteem. In my opinion, that is what many Black people have been lacking for a long time. One way that Black Americans have achieved at least a positive group identity is the adoption of the group name "African American". This group name re-affirms our connection with the continent of Africa and even on a surface level helps us to feel connected to the glories of traditional African cultures {by traditional African cultures I include Egypt, but also include Ethiopia, ancient Sudan, ancient Ethiopia, ancient Ghana, Mali, Songhay, and other kingdoms...

As I've noted, much of the connection that African Americans have with traditional Africa is very surface. But it is a beginning on the long road to feeling good about your people and your self.
I think that Asians and other peoples who always had this connection to their history and cultures may not realize how blessed they were and are because this was never taken away from them as a consequence of Europe and America's form of chattel slavery.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 10:09 PM

Azizi-

It was refreshing to be teaching students in Ethiopia back in the 1960's while I was a Peace Corps volunteer. They had no racial inferiority such as Black students evidenced in Los Angeles (where we practice taught) felt. Oh, to be sure, there were various levels of ethnic disrcrimation going on, and on levels where "we" as outsiders were oblivious to, but not the Black/White racial discrimination that we were more familiar with.

Maybe that experience made me a better teacher when I was working with inner city Black students in Detroit in the 1970's. But we also survived as teachers because we had a corps of Black students who we knew were watching our backs. I do recall vividly the time we were taken for a "tour" by some of our favorite students via car; it's all like a quick flashing slide show: 12th street with people hanging out on their front steps, bars with prostitutes pacing up and down the street, a restaurant with blazing torches from some island in the South Pacific, row upon row of burned out or abandoned houses...

And the stories some of those students would write. They still haunt me, but my former students still have to live with those stories as personal memories.

I, of course, could leave at any time and eventually did. That was a distinction that separated me from most of my students, even some of the brightest ones. There were so many ways that my students could fail to break out and I was teaching in a special program designed to help them do just that. The stress finally became too much for even our best students, who were actually coordinating the program. They were bought off with special scholarships when the University pulled the plug on the program.

You see, the major problem for the University was that our program enrollment kept doubling every quarter, and Black students were getting good grades and expecting to be accepted at the University. The teachers were all volunteers, donating their salaries to pay for the students tuition, and eventually the University administrators freaked out at the consequences of our success. For a while it seemed as if there might even be a massive demonstration (buses had been chartered, big signs printed) but that's when our student leaders, wisely perhaps, decided to accept their scholarships; somewhere there is a file with all the "exhibits."

So it goes!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 05:46 AM

Everybody wants to look down on someone for some reason, real or imagined. We see this in the caste 'system' in India, England, in fact most countries. Enslavement happens world-wide. It's evident that the lack of sins of the forefathers does descend to their children in the form of poverty, perhaps the most 'cunning and diabolical' of the enslavements. I say lack of sins of the forefathers, because had my ancestors had the sense to enslave, rape, pillage and loot in the name of some '-ism', I would likely be rich today. Dylan said it better than I can:

'A South politician preaches to the poor white man,
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain.
You're better than them, you been born with white skin," they explain.
And the Negro's name
Is used it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.'

Racism is not natural. It is taught--and learned. But that is a side-show when viewed in light of the main event. We have a world today in which poor children of south-east Asian people are sold into virtual slavery so we in more developed countries can wear the shoes and clothes we do. So we can have chocolate bars made from cocoa grown and harvested by slaves in the Cote d'Ivoire. So we can send our children to kill their children in the rich-man's game of world politics. And we continue to play the game in the name of this or that. Not a new theme, but a theme that exists because we allow it to through our own inertia, compliance, lust and greed--and sometimes necessity.

"To hold a man down, you have to stay down with him."

Booker T. Washington


I refuse to see any man as other than my brother. And I refuse to let anyone tell me otherwise. I went hungry more than a few times in my life, and to quote Jesse Winchester, "I'll tell you one thing Jack, you listen when your stomach speaks." I'd rather listen to my stomach than to the elected. My stomach KNOWS the state of affairs. And my eyes SEE the state of this world. And my ears HEAR it in the murmurs and sighs of oppressed people around this planet. And when my friend Azizi says some things ain't right from her perspective, then I want to know what those things are, what that perspective is and what I can do about it.

There are some fine people around here. I'm proud to 'know' you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Emma B
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 05:57 AM

and blessings upon the people with the will to protest and the eloquence to express it in song, poetry and prose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 09:18 AM

Azizi suggested that I further explain my experience teaching in Detroit in the 1970's in my somewhat opaque post above. That's not an easy job to do but this is what I PMed her:

"I was jumping about from one world to another. But it would take a book to lay out, and
argue through much of my experience. And no one book would ever do it justice. I'm not
going to try to do this on a Mudcat thread. LOL

12th Street was one of the most notoriously rough streets in Detroit in the 1970's.

The project I was involved with there was quite innovative. It was basically a series of
extension courses from Michigan State University (MSU), using class space at Wayne State
University. The students were 90% Black high school students, recruited by a small group
of Black teenagers from one neighborhood organization. One of the Wayne University
teachers lived in that neighborhood and had worked with the teenagers on other projects
and was impressed with their leadership capabilities.

Students who got good grades were assured acceptance and financial aid at MSU. Most
students did quite well.

The program began with 40 students. The next term jumped to 80 students. Each time the
program expanded, we were able to recruit more volunteer teachers, who donated their
stipends to pay for the students' tuition. When the program grew to 360 students MSU
shut it down. A mass protest was organized at the Detroit end, buses chartered to bring
students and their families up to East Lansing, an hour away, and where MSU is. At that
point the FBI began interviewing the student leadership, and they decided (wisely, I
suppose) to accept the full scholarships offered by MSU and called off the protest.

Maybe I'll see if I can find any sign of this program via Goggle, but I suspect it remained
under the radar and only exists in some file folder, packed in storage wherever the FBI
stores such records."

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 09:39 AM

Thanks for posting that information about that program, Charlie.

It would be great if you wrote a book or books about that project.

And I'd also love to read more about your Peace Corps experiences in Ethiopia. Are there any Mudcat threads in which you and others write about your experiences serving in the Peace Corps or living in other countries?

Such a thread would be an interesting and educational read.

Hint. Hint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 10:09 AM

yes and so is living in most parts of the world that celebrate "whiteness".

Mudcat is informed beneficially by people of color and I fervently hope they participate
here. I have learned so much from people who are different in customs and cultures from me and I relish their input.

The beauty of Mudcat is that it allows for this information to take place. The world is a difficult place for people who esteem peaceful solutions to problems and true brotherhood and sisterhood based on being members of the human family.

There are too many who want to make life uncomfortable for others because of their
self-righteous motivations. Too many people want to grab for the gun instead of using their reason.

Mudcat is a solution. We can share all views here and discuss them about music or ideas in general. Mudcat is true cyber-democracy and that's why I keep posting here.

There is a definite place here for people of color and other cultures and customs.

Frank Hamilton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 01:42 PM

This has been, to me, a "feel-good" thread. Despite some disagreement on the nature and effects of racism, we can all come together in denouncing the idea of condemning a person, to invert a phrase of Dr King's, for the color of his skin rather than the content of his character. Where the lines become more clearly drawn and the disagreements more pronounced is in the realm of personal responsibility. Is an individual ultimately responsible for his own actions, or are his actions primarily determined by his environment? Is the black drug dealer a bad person because of his lack of regard for his fellow man or is he merely doing the best he can in an environment where only the strong survive? Is the southern white racist a selfish, hate-filled ogre, or is he also the victim of the constant negative input of his family, friends, and the tainted nature of his own institutions and language?

I introduced the Jena thread a while back, and the conversation became argumentative very quickly. When dealing with specific scenarios involving race, our tendency toward general statements about racial harmony and even racism begin to erode, and underlying anger and frustrations often begin to emerge.

But I have to say, both kinds of dialogue are vital in our attempts to unravel a very complex and thorny issue. We need threads like this to reinforce the fact that we do care very much, about the issue and about each other. We need threads like the Jena thread to air views which are divergent, and often confrontational. In both cases, the act of participating in such conversations is in itself a step forward, and a world away from the static and stratified views of the world we grew up in.

Like all of you, I'm still learning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 01:54 PM

"19th, I think."   Yup. Thanks for the correction. Just a typo on my part.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 02:16 PM

Here's a link to the BS: The Jena 6 Controversy thread:


thread.cfm?threadid=104934

****

Thanks, Lonesome EJ for starting that thread, and for participating in the discussion on this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 05:57 PM

Big Mick, it seems that I cannot comment on any serious subject without receiving a slapdown attempt from you.

I will make one last attempt to put across my point.

While you may be factually correct in your comments about the existing situation, your comments about people like myself are in the main insulting and unhelpful.

Nobody on this planet can step up and truthfully state that he/she has been put down, debased, or discriminated against by me on grounds of race, creed, or colour, or to the best of my knowledge on any other grounds.

My suggestions were intended for all the protagonists (as I very clearly stated). Putting it plainly, they are:-

1. Remember the past by all means, but stop wallowing in it, and stop using it as an excuse for perpetuating hatred and a desire for revenge.

2. Deal with the present. It's not perfect but it IS what we've got. USE it to improve what YOU want to see improved, and

3. Raise a belief in a future free of the emotional roadblocks of the past. Then make it happen.

Nothing good ever grew out of bitterness and hatred. Nothing bad ever grew out of co-operation and respect.

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 06:07 PM

"So then, John, perhaps you could enlighten me as to exactly why, in your opinion, we continue to see ongoing problems of inequality in education levels, higher crime rates, higher levels of single parenthood, etc, etc?"


Each of the three things (before the etc's) are for different, if sometimes connected reasons.

The reason we see inequity in education is because the notion of diversity supplanted the better notion of succeeding. Again, Orientals are AT LEAST as different from the "white" majority and yet there has been no need to accomodate to them to make them succeed in our schools. None. In fact, the very affirmative action that we are told is necessary for minority participation and success is proven totally unnecessary by the oriental experience.

Blacks were actually succeeding quite well through the first half of the twentieth century -- developing a strong middle class in the north, west and midwest, and educationally excelling as well ..... until we started selling some stupid notion that liberal arts and sciences education was inherently "white" and needed, instead, to diversify to include some notion of diverse cultures (as if that had ANYTHING to do with successful education).

The crime rates and illegitimate births correlate directly to the extent to which personal responsibility has been added (or not) to governmental distribution of wealth. And no race or ethnicity has EVER so thoroughly bought into the myth that all wealth is created by -- and therefore distributed by -- the government than has the American black. Every other race or ethnicity that has succeeded in the US has understood that wealth is created by market production, confiscated (by taxation) in part by the government for the social good, and distributed for various governmental functions -- care of underpriviledged only being ONE of those functions.

As to the distinct appearance piece, you mistate my position. It in no way alibi's the ongoing institutional racism against people of color. The skin tone issue is simply one of the factors that made it harder for African descended folks to integrate into society.

And I'm saying, "Why?". Why, when there are other races at least equally distinct -- orientals being but one of them -- do the other races not require the help of the government to succeed in our economy and culture? It isn't because of the relative poverty from which they came -- all the other ethnicities (that have succeeded) can point to AT LEAST as much poverty as the American black.

Blacks are no more different in appearance than are Japanese, Chinese, Indian, etc. NONE of them has ever asked for, or required ANYTHING EVEN REMOTELY LIKE "affirmative action". Why does the American black require it?

My answer is simple and non-racist. They don't require it. There is NOTHING inferior about the American black. ANYTHING that the American oriental, white, jew, hispanic..... ...anything anyone else can do, the American black can do. It is NOT an inferior race. In point of fact (to get pedantic) it is not a race (nor is oriental, caucasian, or anything else we've refered to by the VERY unscientific term "race").


The institutional racism you lay at the feet of the left surely has some basis in fact (see my first post),but acting as though the right has no culpability is the modern day equivalent of "washing ones hands". Racism is a scourge, perpetuated in this country on folks of color primarily, that should not simply be something that we "wash our hands clean of". It must be systematically, and proactively, rooted out. Focus on the word proactively, as it is the most important word in the sentence.

The right says not to do anything about racism. The Constitution already covers all that's necessary. And, perversely, everything that the American left has EVER done to try to address racism has actually backfired and served to promote it. First, as I pointed out above, the left is inherently racist in it presumption of black inferiority, and second, it creates an unconsitutional inequity that feeds the racism -- not of the "right" -- but of racists.

Racism toward blacks is dying a natural death. We are becoming so intermingled that it is an impracticality. Whites are rapidly becoming a minority (actually already are, depending on how you count it). And blacks are HUGELY successful and admired. And we're about to elect a black president.

The only thing keeping racism alive "institutionally" are politicians and "black leaders" who have their power and livelihood tied up in it. Curiously, no other race or ethnicity has "leaders" -- the corellary of a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 06:54 PM

"And no race or ethnicity has EVER so thoroughly bought into the myth that all wealth is created by -- and therefore distributed by -- the government than has the American black. Every other race or ethnicity that has succeeded in the US has understood that wealth is created by market production, confiscated (by taxation) in part by the government for the social good, and distributed for various governmental functions -- care of underpriviledged only being ONE of those functions."

I should have made it more clear that the above statement applies to the unsuccessful. The successful always have understood the market realities and succeeded all along.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 06:58 PM

I'm posting the following as a comment on the use of "Oriental." I don't necessarily agree with all of it, but I do think it is of interest:

By Alan Hu
Usenet Posting, circa 1993

OK, so a long time ago, people in Europe used to refer to everything to the east of them as the Orient, including for example the Middle East, since orient means "east". So far, so good. This mysterious area was the source of all sorts of wonderful things like silk and spices, so the Europeans attached also sorts of exotic, mysterious connotations to the Orient. As Europeans gained a better concept of world geography, they eventually used "the Orient" and "Oriental" to refer to East and Southeast Asia, where people look "Oriental" in our current usage.

Anyway, that usage of "Oriental" has survived a long time, and it still frequently carries all of the exotic/foreign/inscrutable/mysterious connotations. These connotations happen to coincide with many of the stereotypes held of Asian Americans. Furthermore, by definition, the word "Oriental" is Eurocentric, referring to things east of Europe. For these reasons, some Asian American activist types decided that "Oriental" was a Bad Word, and that "Asian" was more accurate, less Eurocentric, and less loaded with strange connotations. No big deal, right?

Well, a lot of people didn't want to change their language usage. Some people grew up using "Oriental" and saw nothing wrong with the word. Others came from other parts of the world, where hip-activist-American-English-linguistic-evolution hadn't hit. Still others never encountered anyone aware of Asian American politics, so had never heard of this word usage change. Some people were exploiting the exotic mysticism connotations and resisted change. (Very early on, you would see articles about business and trade in Asia, whereas the travel articles would talk about visiting the Exotic Mysterious Orient.) Finally, some people were convinced that this was a typical case of left-wing-politically-correct-thought-police-mind-control (which it was) and decided in typical right-wing-politically-correct-knee-jerk-response that the word usage change was intrinsically evil and had to be resisted at all costs.

For a while, therefore, you could identify a person as being an American who was aware of and sympathetic to Asian American politics by his/her word choice. Now, however, many exploitation-types have realized that saying "Asian" instead of "Oriental" is the cool thing to do, without changing any of their stereotypes and misconceptions. (You can force a person to change his/her behavior, but you can't force a change in thought.)

The upshot is to use whatever word you feel most comfortable with, or that makes your listeners most comfortable, but don't be surprised if someone takes offense. And in the time you save by not worrying about word-usage, try to make the world a better place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 08:37 PM

Readers of this thread may be interested in checking out the website Asian Nation. That multipage website includes a blog and front page articles.

Here's an excerpt from a front page Asian Nation article:

http://www.asian-nation.org/model-minority.shtml


The Model Minority Image

"In a lot of ways, Asian Americans have done remarkably well in achieving "the American dream" of getting a good education, working at a good job, and earning a good living. So much so that the image many have of Asian Americans is that we are the "model minority" -- a bright, shining example of hard work and patience whose example other minority groups should follow. However, the practical reality is slightly more complicated than that....

Once in a great while, statistics don't lie. It is true that in many ways, Asian Americans have done very well socially and economically...

[inserts chart of income/college education and other demographics of Americans who are Black, White, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and Asian American]

These numbers tell you that among the five major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S., Asian Americans have the highest college degree attainment rate, rates of having an advanced degree (professional or Ph.D.), median family income, being in the labor force, rate of working in a "high skill" occupation (executive, professional, technical, or upper management), and median Socioeconomic Index (SEI) score that measures occupational prestige. Yes, in these categories, Asians even outperform Whites. Asian Americans seem to have done so well that magazines such as Newsweek and respected television shows such as 60 Minutes proclaim us to be the "model minority.

They point to statistics like this and say how well Asian Americans are doing in society and that we've overcome past instances of prejudice and discrimination without resorting to political or violent confrontations with Whites. Further, our success should serve as an example for other racial/ethnic minority groups to follow in their own quest to overcome barriers in their way to achieving the American dream.

Many people go even further and argue that since Asian Americans are doing so well, we no longer experience any discrimination and that Asian Americans no longer need public services such as bilingual education, government documents in multiple languages, and welfare. Further, using the first stereotype of Asian Americans, many just assume that all Asian Americans are successful and that none of us are struggling.

On the surface, it may sound rather benign and even flattering to be described in those terms. However, we need to take a much closer look at these numbers. As we will see, many other statistics show that Asian Americans are still the targets of racial inequality and institutional discrimination and that the model minority image is a myth.

WHEN GOOD NUMBERS GO BAD
Again, we need to remember that not all Asian Americans are the same. For every Chinese American or South Asian who has a college degree, the same number of Southeast Asians are still struggling to adapt to their lives in the U.S...

The results show that as a whole Asian American families have higher median incomes than White families. However, this is because in most cases, the typical Asian American family tends to have more members who are working than the typical White family...

SUCCESS" MAY ONLY BE SKIN-DEEP
Another telling statistic is how much more money a person earns with each additional year of schooling completed, or what sociologists call "returns on education." One of the first in-depth studies that looked at per capita income between Asian Americans and other racial/ethnic groups came from Robert Jiobu and is cited in Asian Americans: An Interpretive History by Sucheng Chan. Using this measure, research consistently shows that for each additional year of education attained, Whites earn another $522.

That is, beyond a high school degree, a White with 4 more years of education (equivalent to a college degree) can expect to earn $2088 per year in salary. In contrast, returns on each additional year of education for a Japanese American is only $438. For a Chinese American, it's $320. For Blacks, it's even worse at only $284. What this means is that basically, a typical Asian American has to get more years of education just to make the same amount of money that a typical White makes with less education...

Recent research from scholars such as Timothy Fong, Roderick Harrison, and Paul Ong, to name just a few, continues to confirm these findings that controlling for other variables, Asian Americans still earn less money than Whites with virtually equal qualifications. Once again, for each statistic that suggests everything is picture-perfect for Asian Americans, there is another that proves otherwise...

Another point is that even despite the real successes we've achieved, Asian Americans are still significantly underrepresented in positions of political leadership at the local, regional, state, and federal levels (despite the successes of a few individuals such as Norman Mineta and Elaine Chao) -- just like Blacks, Latinos, and American Indians. In the corporate world, Asian Americans are underrepresented as CEOs, board members, and high-level supervisors -- just like Blacks, Latinos, and American Indians.

This is not to say that there aren't Asians Americans out there who are quite successful and have essentially achieved the American dream. As their socioeconomic attainment levels clearly illustrate for example, Asian Indians consistently outperform not only other Asian ethnic groups but Whites in several achievement measures, sometimes by a large margin. And of course, you'll find plenty of examples of Asian Americans who are quite affluent and successful, and as Asian Americans, we should rightly feel proud of these examples of success.

The point is that just because many Asian Americans have "made it," it does not mean that all Asian Americans have made it. In many ways, Asian Americans are still the targets of much prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination. For instance, the persistent belief that "all Asians are smart" puts a tremendous amount of pressure on many Asian Americans. Many, particularly Southeast Asians, are not able to conform to this unrealistic expectation and in fact, have the highest high school dropout rates in the country.

Asian Americans are also increasingly becoming the targets of hate crimes. In fact, research shows that Asian Americans are the fastest growing victims of hate crimes in the U.S. Asian Indians and other successful Asian Americans may have extraordinary levels of socioeconomic achievement but it's very unlikely that many of them will say that they no longer experience discrimination because of their Asian ethnicity.

Ultimately, the process of achieving socioeconomic success among Asian Americans is very complex. There are many examples of affluence and prosperity within the Asian American population but in many ways, we still face the same types of racism, social inequality, and institutional discrimination that other groups of color face. Therefore, the image that the entire Asian American community is the "model minority" is a myth."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 08:52 PM

Coincidental to the introduction of Asians into this discussion, I woke up this morning to a discussion on the radio on Australia's involvement in the construction of a global line of colour.

The person being interviewed on that link is one of two authors of a book that has apparently only recently been published (and I haven't yet read it) but the bit that sparked my attention from half asleep to slightly more awake was (what I thought to be) the assertion that the rise of democracy as a mode of government, in the second half of the 19th century, was follwed by a rise in paranoia on the part of a group of countries that "identified themselves as white", viz the US, Britain and its major "white" dominions (Australia, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand), and the European colonial powers such as France, Germany, Holland and Belgium; the Iberians and the Russians were left out, apparently.

It was this group that saw the need to protect themselves and defined "colour" as a discriminating criterion, with themselves as being white and in control. According to (my recollection of) the interview, this was tested by the Japanese defeating Russia in the 1904-5 war and raising the question "Were the Japanese 'white'?" And, by inference, "us"? The answer was "No!" *

There was a lot more, some of it quite damning of Australian govt behaviour, some of which was apparently quite influential in the US but I'll have to take the time to both listen to the audio properly and go and read the book. This post is just a 'heads up' to a relevant item and I put the link in so that those of you who are interested can check it out independently.

* The Japanese treatment of the Ainu from Hokkaido as well as occidentals (quite "intitutionalised") adds another layer to our discussion but is best kept for a separate thread, I think.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 09:03 PM

Azizi-

Nice work! And should we also provide links to the "yellow peril" diatribes that were printed in the newspapers in the late 19th and early 20th century? How can "enlightened Mudcatters" be so ignorant of our history of ethnocentrism? It boggles my mind. But than I haven't a clue what has been taught in the last 20 years.

Other Mudcatters-

Institutional racism as practiced in the States against Black Americans is still alive and well, in my opinion. A Black middle class may be growing but too many are still trapped in substandard housing, substandard schools, and poorly paid jobs. There will always be a tendency by some to "blame the victims" for their plight but I can't imagine that proposition would hold up under any kind of social research scruntiny. Certainly, we all know individuals who have given up or pray on their own but that is not the general situation, nor should it be,

I would love to parachute a couple of our self-righteous posters into a Black urban ghetto and observe how long they would survive. But that would be oh so wrong!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 09:27 PM

Thanks Charley.

I found that website and that article with the help of the Google search engine.

Btw, though I believe that we should pray, in your last post I think the word you meant was prey.

Those are words have entirely different meanings, wouldn't you say?

And speaking of words, with regard to group names, in my opinion, the preferences of the group should be most important in determining which group referent others should use.

With regard to the referents "Asian" or "Oriental", there seems to be little doubt that while specific nationalities within that group refer to themselves by their nationality {i.e. Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Pakistani etc}, the catch-all group name that is preferred by most people who belong to that diverse racial group is
"Asian American".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 06:20 AM

Hey Charley,

Why the hell can't a topic be discussed -- with differing opinions -- without phrases like "Self-righteous" being accused? Why not just make your point without impugning my character?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 06:41 AM

True enough, it can, and it should. But language like "the American black" doesn't really help matters. We need to read over what we have written and take out the stuff that is insulting, including personal abuse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 08:53 AM

why, mofh? "Black" was the nomenclature, chosen by blacks, with which to repectfully refer to the race.

And American Blacks -- as a race -- are not "Arican Americans". Certainly they are not in the context of this thread. For one thing, it's not at all descriptive. It doesn't distinguish Canada from USA from Mexico, or, for that matter, does it even distinguish North from Central from South America. And that's without even mentioning how diverse Africa is (even moreso than N. America).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 10:24 AM

You would, perhaps, prefer Bantu-Chicagoan? The "nomenclature" has shifted over time, and (IMHO) has a lot more to do with notions of political correctness than any preferences of the individuals concerned. At this instant in time, it is African-American, although I'm not entirely sure about the hyphen. "Black people" is used by those who don't keep up, even though it isn't particularly descriptive, but I don't think "the blacks" has been in common use since about 1864.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 11:45 AM

John-

Well, I call 'em as I sees 'em, and evidently you see yourself as I called 'em.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 11:48 AM

Expressions like Italian-American and Irish-American don't distinguish between the USA and Canada and Mexico either. Or for that matter Argentina. So would I be right in assuming you object to all these expressions, John. If you do, fair enough. If you don't, what's the relevant difference? (The fact that Africa is a continent rather than a country is not in any way a relevant difference.)
....................................................

I wasn't suggesting that "black", as in "Black Americans" is something to be reasonably objected to - but "the American black" is just not the same. I don't think many people would feel comfortable with "the American white" either. It sounds too like a breed of livestock - a chicken maybe, such as the Rhode Island Red. Or maybe one of Harry Potter's dragons, such as the Common Welsh Green or the Hebridean Black.

We just don't normally talk about human beings in that way, and in consequence it seems to send a message, no doubt inadvertently in this case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 12:15 PM

From my own direct and indirect experiences, my sense is that African American is the appropriate formal group name that refers to Black Americans {people of any Black African descent who live in or are from the United States}. "Black American" and "Black people" are appropiate informal terms for those same people. "The Blacks" and "the American Blacks" are inappropriate {dare I say} politically incorrect group referents for people of any Black descent who live in or are from the United States.

Some individuals capitalize the word "Black" when it is used as a racial referent, and some people don't. My reason for capitalizing the word "Black" when it is used as a racial referent is because other racial, nationalities, and ethnic group names are capitalized {British, Irish, Spanish, Canadians, Japanese, Indians, Chinese, Polish, etc.} The other reason why I capitalize "Black" when it is used as a racial referent is that I grew up at a time when there were vigorous efforts to make sure that the word "Negro" was capitalized. At that time "Negro" was the favored racial referent for Black Americans, and it almost always was printed with a small "n" whereas other ethnic, racial, and nationality names were capitalized. The position of those advocating for the use of a capital "N" for "Negro" was that failure to do so gave the message that Black Americans were "less than" all other indivuals and groups of people. The efforts to make sure that the first letter int he word "Negro" was capitalized were successful. However, about twenty years after that {give or take some years}, by the early 1970s, the formal group referent "Negro" was changed, first for a brief time to
"Afro-American" and then to "African American". to "n"Negroensure that were eventually successful. However, if "Negro" is used, and especially if that word is not capitalized, it's considered an insult as it carries the negative connotations of a stereotypically servile and passive Black person. Some Black writers purposely use the word "Negro" or "negro" to diss another Black person.

I'd like to also reiterate that there are sub-groups within the African American race. In addition to Black people of from Canada, from various Caribbean nations, South American nations, European nations, etc., there are also African Americans who are of Gullah descent, Creole descent, and more. Also, one need not have any slave ancestors in order to be considered-and to consider yourself-African American.

Sometimes, it's a matter of self-selection who is or is not African American. It certainly isn't always physical appearance {skin color, hair texture, lips, and nose structure}. Most Americans {UnitedStaters} know that for a long time, the legal rule in the United States was that anyone was Black who had one drop of Black blood, no matter how many generations ago that was. To some extent, this is still the social rule. But,times they are changin regarding that too. And-in my opinion, that's okay-well, maybe, it depends on why a person decides to "opt out" of Black racial identity.

In my opinion, the "one drop of Black blood" ruling is inherently racist. A person who is biologically mixed race should be accepted as either one of his parent's races, or both of them, regardless of how he or she looks. But-as is the case with Senator Barack Obama-a person who has one White birth parent and one Black birth parent is not accepted as a member of the White race.

It's true that the referents "African American" and "Black American" are imprecise for a number of reasons. But, the group referent "American" is imprecise also. The United States has coopted the referent "American", though it could refer to Canada, and to South American and Latin American nations. In recognition of how imprecise the word "American" is, on this international forum I sometimes use the tongue in cheek referent "UnitedStater" to refer to myself and to other people who live in the United States.

To conclude this lengthy post, I'd like to also repeat what I wrote in an earlier post-in my opinion, people should respect the right of people within a racial and ethnic group to chose the group referent/s they prefer for themselves. Those should be the referents that are used. Granted, these referents may change over time, but continuing to stay up with the times, and changing with those times is often a good thing, is it not?

Disclaimer:
It should go without saying-but since it may not-let me clarify that I'm sharing this information from my own perspective, and I am not speaking for all other African Americans. I'm aware that some African Americans as well as some non-African Americans may disagree with what I've said. And needless to say, I'm open to hearing from other folks about what I've said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 12:26 PM

For the record, I posted my comment before reading McGrath of Harlow's 01 Mar 08 - 11:48 AM post.

I agree with your comments, McGrath.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 12:57 PM

"...evidently you see yourself as I called 'em."

No, I don't see myself as you call me. And my disagreement with you is not indicative of "self-righteous"ness, though I'm sure that from your perspective as god, it might appear that way from time to time. But thanks for the smarm.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 01:44 PM

"The American black" is a little bit further along the spectrum of discourse even than "American blacks".

"Political correctness" be blowed - it's a matter of good manners and respect for our fellows.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 02:10 PM

"The American black" is a little bit further along the spectrum of discourse even than "American blacks".

This is absurd. So even Azizi allows as how "black" is perfectly fine, but I can't use the article "the" in a sentence before I talk about an American black? Can I use "an" before "American black"?

I'm all for manners and respect (though I get little if any of it here). I'm even for the etiquette that was the initial appeal of politically correct speech. But I'm sorry, you're just trying to find some way of taking offense at what I'm saying, and rather than discuss the issue/philosophy, you'd rather red herring off into this minutia.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 02:10 PM

"The American black" is a little bit further along the spectrum of discourse even than "American blacks".

This is absurd. So even Azizi allows as how "black" is perfectly fine, but I can't use the article "the" in a sentence before I talk about an American black? Can I use "an" before "American black"?

I'm all for manners and respect (though I get little if any of it here). I'm even for the etiquette that was the initial appeal of politically correct speech. But I'm sorry, you're just trying to find some way of taking offense at what I'm saying, and rather than discuss the issue/philosophy, you'd rather red herring off into this minutia.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 02:21 PM

Of course we are all genetically linked to our Black ancestors who fanned out from the rift valley in Ethiopia as the Human Genome Project has amply documented: Click here for website!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 02:32 PM

Actually it is The Genographic Project that I was thinking about that attempts to map the migration routes of human groups back to their origin: Click here for website

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 05:25 PM

John Hardly,

It's possible when posting on an international forum that comments can be miscontrued because of differences in word and phrases being used or interpreted differently within the same nation and within multiple nations. It's possible that a word or phrase or comment that appears to be racist may not be that at all. However, it's also possible that a word or phrase or comments that appears to be racist is, indeed, racist.

I've said a number of times on this forum and within this thread that I don't speak for other African Americans. However, I would like to unequivocably state my belief John, that, even if you meant no harm by using the phrase "the American black", that phrase was interpreted by me, and is likely to be interpreted by many if not most African Americans {Black Americans} as prejudiced if not racist. If you had used the plural phrase "the American blacks" that would be much more acceptable-though that phrase isn't used in the United States.

My sense is that "the American black" is racist, or at least can be construed as being racist because it lumps all Black people in the United States into one person, thus discounting the myriad ways in which Black Americans live, move, and have our being. In other words, using the singular phrase "the American black" stereotypes even more than using the plural phrase "American blacks". Even if you make a seemingly positive statement such as "The American black dances better than the American white". That still is stereotyping. From my own experiences, I can name a number of times I have seen White people dance better than Black people, including better than me. But even if you say American blacks dance better than American whites that is also a racist statement. I mean, who has surveyed all of these people and who are the judges, and what criteria {standards/values} are they using to make such a blanket statement?

I've already mentioned that the referent "the American black" isn't a racial referent that is used or preferred by African Americans".
If I have not mentioned this, I will do so now- the racial referent "Oriental" appears to have been retired years ago by non-Asians and does not seem to have been used that often by Asians themselves. John, it's possible that you grew up with these racial referents. And/or it's possible that you still hear these group referents being used among your friends and peers. If so, you may have thought that it was appropriate for you to use these referents on this international discussion forum. The responses that you have received thus far from other Mudcatters might {should?} be lead you to conclude that neither of these group referents are appropriate any longer, if they ever were appropriate.

John, I believe that you live in Great Britain. Today another Mudcat member sent me private message that included information about the British website http://www.ligali.org/ .

That multipage website includes articles, current events postings, quotable quotes, and a mostly text based forum. Since I received that URL this afternoon, I've spent some time reading some "threads" in that forum. I found them interesting reading, in that they provided me with glimpses of how some people of African descent view living in Britain. However, I have some reservations about joining that forum, partly because of time considerations, and partly because I may not be in agreement with some core values of that forum {such as the equal acceptance of people without regard to sexual orientation and without regard to race}. But I hasten to say that it may not be the case that this forum and its members have values that disagree with mine. I've just read a small amount of entries on that forum. However, it is telling that the moderators did not delete those two comments that I read that which I interpreted as being homophobic... But then again, I might feel the same way if I were coming to Mudcat for the first time and I saw posts that remained which I considered to be racist...

But I digress...I want to post this definition that I found on that website's Frequently Asked Questions page:

"African British is the term now used to describe the community previously mislabelled as Afro-Caribbean, Black British, UK Black, Coloured and Black. It embraces all British nationals with antecedents originating directly from Africa or indirectly via African diasporic communities, such as those in the Caribbean and South America."

http://www.ligali.org/aboutus/faq.htm

-snip-

My point is that the referent "UK Black" is similar in construct to the referent "American black" that you used, John.

I'm not sure how widespread the phrase "UK Black" is or was in Great Britain. It seems from that "Black" as it appears in the referent "UK Black" was/is both singular and plural.

John, given that definition, I'm willing to believe that your use of the group referent "the American black" may have been based on your knowledge or familiarity with the referent "UK Black". Maybe you were using a phrase that was similar to one that is familiar to you or a group referent that is itself familiar to you. And maybe you meant no harm in doing so.

That said, John Hardly, I would respectfully suggest to you that using "the American black" and 1. that you are prejudiced if not racist against Black people and Asians, if not other non-White peoples

and

2. that you are an old foggie who finds it difficult to change with the times.

I'd rather believe #2 than #1.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM

Re: "the American black".

I understand your frustration John, but this phraseology has connotations that you no doubt do not intend. It implies that 'the American black' is a creature that has a distinct set of built-in attributes that can be identified, delineated, discussed, and then expected. In other words, stereotyping, and objectification. It hearkens back to a time (Victorian era) when it was common and acceptable to talk about ethnicities in such terms - when Dr Watson in "The Sign of Four" could say to Holmes, "I know your Sikh - he's not a man to be trifled with" (approximate quotation). When your Italian was 'hot-blooded', your Oriental was 'inscrutable', etc. That's the baggage that comes with the term, 'the American black'. If you use it, you identify yourself with the commonplace racist attitudes of the 19th century, and you thus discredit your own arguments, which may in fact have merit.

To say 'AN American black', or 'American blacks', is in fact a much different matter. It's all about connotation. That's how it is with language.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM

I've made several cut & paste mistakes in my last post.

My ending statement was suppose to be either #1 or #2 or both.

I repeat that I'd rather choose door #2 than door #1.

{That last sentence includes a cultural reference to the game show "The Price Is Right". I'm not sure if that reference-choosing a particular door behind which is-hopefully a great prize, but also may be a completely undesirable prize-is one that is familiar to non-UnitedStaters and Canadians. I include Canadians since they get so many of our television shows}


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 05:42 PM

meself, I want to believe that John Hardly's phraseology has connotations that he did not intend.

Thanks for helping to clarify that point.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 05:42 PM

(Cross-posted with Azizi ... ).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 06:23 PM

We all screw up from time to time, saying things which are discorteous or offensive, without intending to do so.

When this is drawn to our attention the right thing to do is to take a good look at what we have said, and be ready to admit we have made a mistake. Not to bluster it out and attempt to justify ourselves.

I think meself probably makes my point better than I did.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 07:10 PM

"meself, I want to believe that John Hardly's phraseology has connotations that he did not intend. "

If that were true, I don't think you'd read "connotations". My intentions are quite clear in the context of my words.

That said, as is often the case, I am in over my head. Given that I am a parchesi player who obviously, mistakenly stumbled into a game of chess, I just can't "get" the rules. Maybe I don't "get" them because I don't mean what you clearly want to believe I mean.

There is nothing about the context of my words that could lead one to believe what you think I'm saying.

But I disagree with who are the racists in this game of chess you are playing. And by playing chess, you are effectively blocking out any discussion that makes you uncomfortable.

So you win. Feels good, huh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 07:32 PM

Would that I could block out any discussion that makes me uncomfortable.

I started this thread because I could not block out comments that I found to be uncomfortable.

I never learned how to play chess or parchesi. As to my feeling good. No. I'm not there yet.

I want to echo Rodney King's words "Can't we all get along?" But I want "getting along" to be more than just surface kumbayaing {to use a phrase that I really don't like}.

I feel badly if {because} some people have been hurt by this thread. I never meant to hurt anyone. But good intentions aren't always enough.

If I have done you a disservice, John Hardly, I apologize to you also.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 07:37 PM

Hmm.

If I seem tetchy, I have had a bad day - about 12 hours work on a Saturday! Also, I am taking relaxing-water now. (Organic gin: most inspiring).

John Hardly, there is a post of yours a fair lump back that seeks to assert that other minorities succeed, but not the African-American. That fails to allow for the history of slavery in the USA. Before you assert it (or its analogue) vis-a-vis the UK you should look up my old friend Vincent Nelson QC (and possibly listen to some of his court speeches if recordings exist).

Don/Big Mick - you are both of Irish descent. So I rather chortle to see you tearing strips off each other rather than off me for being English. But Don has experience of the English environment and its racism whereas Mick has the view in the USA. Both of you need to avoid submitting to cultural assumptions.

MG - there are some things that push my buttons, and your consistent propaganda across several threads that sex without a formal religious or civil licence is wrong and that the sin is visited upon the children is one of them. It is not a proper price of poverty to be chaste or to be condemned.

My two step-children (as a matter of law, not step-children) were both largely brought up without much money by a single (most of the time) mother (my late partner). One has just left Intel (with a large pay-off) where she was head of Europe in her department. The other got a first in philosophy. My own daughter with my late partner has a 2:1, a diploma in touring theatre management, a rising career in design licensing, several drama awards, and 3 very creditable rock bands to her name. I am proud of all of them.   I was proud of their mother too. I wish you would stop preaching that a woman's main virtue in life is to keep her hand on her ha'penny. Sex is a good thing. Do not deny it. (and no, I am not indulging in orgies every night: in fact my own life is a bit humdrum, but the principle is the thing)

Indeed, I wonder if you are not appearing to buy into the myth of the "black slut". If so you should be at least more careful.

But, Azizi, I still think (although, if you do not wish otherwise, I will argue alongside you in general) that you need to distinguish between appearance on the one hand and speech habits and behaviour on the other. I do not intend to imply that you need white support. I find that you put your point generally better, and with greater knowledge than I can, but I am still rather concerned at how many people here do not simply say that you are right and that a subtext of prejudice does seem to appear.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 07:40 PM

"If I have done you a disservice, John Hardly, I apologize to you also."

No need to apologize. I obviously just don't get the finer distinctions. The notion of racism has always been abhorent to me. It wasn't just the way I was raised -- it's what I believe.

So, to have the goal post contantly moved so that I am perceived as the racist in a discussion is just the way the game's played. The real racists are tickled pink with that.

I can't play.

But you don't need to apologize. I'm the one who stumbled into the wrong game.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 07:51 PM

Lest there be any misunderstanding, John is NOT a racist. In fact, he's one helluva good guy. I think we have all misunderstood a few things and maybe it's time to see that the folks who bother posting to this thread mean well. Arguing with each other ain't gonna solve squat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 08:17 PM

Just one more time, as simply as it can be stated:

In the American (US) dialect of English, "African American" or "Black American" or "Black person" is acceptable. "Blacks" (with an ess) or "the blacks" or "a black" is unacceptable, insulting and demeaning. It means the same as "kaffir". This is as true for non-Black Americans as it is for people of color. We don't use those expressions and it makes our skin crawl to hear them or see them in print. How you speak the language where you come from is your business.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 08:39 PM

I'm sure John isn't a racist, from reading his posts. That wasn't my point in taking exception to his use of what I regarded as a racist expression, in the context of my supporting his suggestion that we should all try to avoid posting in a way that insulted other people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 05:33 AM

My objection is to the appearance, perhaps unintended, that John believes that if African Americans were as diligent or as able as Orientals they too could succeed. I believe they face greater difficulty, but that some handicap themselves more greatly by insisting on the validity of ebonics as a form of speech and by adopting a "gangsta" style of behaviour. It was not the use of the words "the black" that offended me, although I thought the reference could have been better put. John's passage to which I objected is below.

But it does occur to me that if it is legitimate to ask whether WASPS are over-represented among the rich and powerful, then it must also be legitimate to ask whether other races or religions are so too. That tends to legitimate the line of thought, that we have all seen, that we might enquire whether Jews were over-represented in government, or in media, or in my own profession of lawyer! It becomes an uncomfortable debate.

This is John's passage to which I objected: -

" The reason we see inequity in education is because the notion of diversity supplanted the better notion of succeeding. Again, Orientals are AT LEAST as different from the "white" majority and yet there has been no need to accomodate to them to make them succeed in our schools. None. In fact, the very affirmative action that we are told is necessary for minority participation and success is proven totally unnecessary by the oriental experience."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 09:45 AM

...some [African Americans] handicap themselves more greatly by insisting on the validity of ebonics as a form of speech and by adopting a "gangsta" style of behaviour.

Ebonics is more formally known as African American Vernacular English. Here's an excerpt from a wikipedia article on AAVE:

"African American Vernacular English (AAVE) – also called Ebonics, African American English, Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular (BEV) and Black Vernacular English (BVE) – is a variety (dialect, ethnolect and sociolect) of American English. Its pronunciation is in some respects common to Southern American English, which is spoken by many African Americans and many non-African Americans in the United States. There is little regional variation among speakers of AAVE.[1] Several creolists, including William Stewart, John Dillard, and John Rickford argue that AAVE shares so many characteristics with Creole dialects spoken by black people in much of the world that AAVE itself is a creole.[2] It has been suggested that AAVE has grammatical structures in common with West African languages or even that AAVE is best described as an African based language with English words.[3] Speakers of AAVE are typically bidialectal. As with all linguistic forms, its usage is influenced by age, status, topic and setting. There are many literary uses of this variety of English, particularly in African-American literature"

-snip-

I accept the Creolist position with regard to AAVE. I recognize the need for African Americans and other Americans to be bilingual/bicultural. It's important to know how to speak and write mainstream English. However, I believe that it is also important to recognize the creativity that comes from AAVE and also from hip hop languaging, which I believe is a subset of African American Vernacular English.

I also want to say this-gangsta rap is only one form of rap music, although it's the most promoted form of that rap {hip hop} music. Also, rap music is only one form of hip hop culture. I also need to say that hip hop is a highly creative spoken and written languaging form {I'm separating out the profanity and woman hating aspects of hip hop languaging}. Some of the words and expressions that have originated from hip hop culture have been accepted into informal, and even more formal mainstream American English {for example, "my bad", "bling bling", "24-7"; "giving props"; "def"; "give a shout out to", "diss"}.

One aspect of hip hop languaging that I consider interesting is how words are spelled to better conform to their sound. For instance "phat" {fat} and "enuf" {enough}. Also, letters are numbers are used as substitute for words {for instance "4" {for/four} and "u" {you}. {Of course, this practice may also be the result of or heavily influenced by text messaging and internet blogging{.

With regards to "phat", that word also takes on a whole new meaning, as do many hip hop words. Also, hip hop languaging has enhanced the importance of how a word {but particularly personal names look as well as how they sound. By "look" I mean the addition of accent marks or hypens, or capital letters after the first syllable-in addition to/or in place of different spellings of names. In my opinion, the reason this is done is to add uniqueness to the name while still being consistent with the way the name is pronounced. Examples of the increased importance of visuals in Hip Hop African American personal names are the female name "La-Shay"; and the male name "DeOndre".

My bottom line is that I wish that people would stop dissin African American Vernacular English in general and hip hop languaging in particular. I wish people would give these languaging forms the props they deserves for their creativity.

Disclaimer:
By no means do I support or condone gangsta rap or gangsta culture, African American or otherwise.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 09:52 AM

Here's the link to the wikipedia article on African American Vernacular English:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_Vernacular_English


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 09:58 AM

One of my first graduate research projects after returning from three years in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia was a survey of enthocentrism in cultural geography textbooks during the first half of the 20th century. There were some really blatant examples, easy to identify, and painful to try to rationalize. No doubt the authors didn't consider themselves "racists" or "enthnocentric" and some were very prominant geographers. I still get depressed when I think of the thousands of students who read such texts, absorbing some of those poison messages.

The messages in the textbooks today are much more subtle, or maybe I'm lost my ability to descern them, being trapped in my own subculture and experience. But I still react strongly to what I read or hear as racist or ethnocentric remarks. And I do try to read between the lines and the alternative phrasing and not jump to conclusions. I'm sure I'll continue to challenge John Hardly, much as I hate to indulge in personal confrontation with little hope of changing someone's attitude; I did initially attempt to communicate with John by PM but he blew that off with what I perceived as great rudeness. So it goes!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 10:05 AM

How does "phat" correspond better than "fat" to the sound? I'd have thought it'd be the other way round, for example spelling "phone" as "fone".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 10:39 AM

McGrath,

You're right. "Phat" was a poor choice on my part to show how hip hop spells words to conform better with how those words are pronounced. "Phat" may be a better example of the use of uniqueness in spelling. After all, "ph" does sound like "f" {as in the words "phoney" & "Philadelphia"}.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like how hip hop language creates and reinterpets words & expressions, and I note that it has increased the importance of visuals in personal names if not in other words. I believe that this thinking out of the box and pushing language boundaries are key examples of the high value that African American cultures place on innovation. This was part of what I was referring to in my 27 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM post to this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 10:43 AM

Correction-

Phat" was a poor choice on my part to show how hip hop culture spells words to conform better than their regular spelling to how those words are pronounced.

Ugh..I don't like that either. But I think you get my drift.{"get my drift"=what I'm trying to say}


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 10:51 AM

I have a to in that sentence that I didn't meant to be there.

I'mma quit trying to make any corrections...and yes I know "preview is my friend" but if I used preview I probably wouldn't push submit half as much as I do, and maybe that's a good thing.

But may I say that this part of the discussion-the way language is used-is one of the things I like best about Mudcat.

And I am reminded by a pm that I received earlier this past week that we should be thankful if we and our loved ones are in {reasonably} good health. I recognize that I am blessed in that regard.

And the reality of the situation is that if Mudcat was all that difficult for me, I wouldn't keep returning to this forum and posting here as much as I do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 10:56 AM

I do. But, as with previous examples of the same thing, it does get in the way of easy reading.

For example, here is a song by 19th century Dorset poet William Barnes in spelling designed to show how people round his way actually talked:

    MY ORCHA'D IN LINDEN LEA

    'Ithin the woodlands, flow'ry gleaded,
    By the woak tree's mossy moot,
    The sheenen grass-bleades, timber-sheaded,
    Now do quiver under voot ;
    An' birds do whissle over head,
    An' water's bubblen in its bed,
    An' there vor me the apple tree
    Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

    When leaves that leately wer a-springen
    Now do feade 'ithin the copse,
    An' painted birds do hush their zingen
    Up upon the timber's tops;
    An' brown-leav'd fruit's a-turnen red,
    In cloudless zunsheen, over head,
    Wi' fruit vor me, the apple tree
    Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

    Let other vo'k meake money vaster
    In the air o' dark-room'd towns,
    I don't dread a peevish measter;
    Though noo man do heed my frowns,
    I be free to goo abrode,
    Or teake agean my hwomeward road
    To where, vor me, the apple tree
    Do lean down low in Linden Lea.


And here it is with conventional English spelling:

MY ORCHARD IN LINDEN LEA

Within the woodlands, flowery gladed,
By the oak tree's mossy moot,
The shining grass-blades, timber-shaded,
Now do quiver under foot;
And birds do whistle overhead,
And water's bubbling in its bed,
And there for me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

When leaves that lately were a-springing
Now do fade within the copse,
And painted birds do hush their singing
Up upon the timber tops;
And brown-leaved fruit's a-turning red,
In cloudless sunshine, overhead,
With fruit for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Let other folk make money faster
In the air of dark-roomed towns,
I don't dread a peevish master;
Though no man do heed my frowns,
I be free to go abroad,
Or take again my homeward road
To where, for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John Hardly
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 11:59 AM

"I did initially attempt to communicate with John by PM but he blew that off with what I perceived as great rudeness. So it goes!"

No. You did no such thing. I even just now checked my archive -- an archive from which, in my over five years here, I have never deleted a PM. You have never PMd me. But thanks for again publicly impugning my character.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 12:58 PM

The matter of hip-hop style spelling and usage is a red herring - this is simply another expression of a variety of youth culture; i.e., a way of fashionable youth to define and assert itself against the older generation of what we used to call the Establishment. A lot of us old fogeys don't like it, but that means it's fulfilling its function (and, yes, I realize that many hip-hoppers or whatever they call themselves must be fast approaching oldfogeydom themselves, but that's their problem). It's supposed to vex and alienate old fuddy-duddies like you and me. No different in that respect from the jargon of hippies, beatniks, hepcats, cornerboys, etc., expect that it's gone a step further into spelling. (I hear that now they've even begun to spell 'doughnut' as 'donut'!!).

As for eubonics - again, a red herring. I don't think anyone influential is telling African-American youth that they don't need to have competence with standard English if they want to be successful within the aforementioned Establishment, are they?

On another matter - the relative 'success of Orientals'. Azizi's post on the subject is very insightful; I would just add that we shouldn't forget the effect of Confucian and related ethical systems, which emphasize obedience to authority, and the primacy of family, education, and government. Despite the various traumas of modern history in east Asia, these Confucian-based(?) outlooks seem to have persisted, and they do seem to provide a solid basis for a level of economic achievement in a society such as ours.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 01:05 PM

Speaking of spelling - that should be 'except', not 'expect'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 01:18 PM

Yes, I understand the function of slang as a group identifier. But if you use a form of expression to separate yourself from a power group and to encapsulate your rejection of it then you can't really be surprised when it rejects you.

Likewise almost all current forms of "mobo" of which I am aware seem to unify with behaviour designed to challenge the rules of the power structure. Of course all forms of "yoof" music do that but (maybe because I am getting older) mobo seems more clearly to embrace violence as a means of achievement than anything since the MC5 (remember them?) but further to embrace violence as normal social behaviour rather than a political protest. Behaviour in that style is a rejection of the values preferred by the power structure and again if you adopt that rejection then you cannot be surprised if the power structure rejects you.

Both speech habits and patterns of behaviour are matters of choice. It is asking a great deal of any command structure to say that it should make allowances for direct repudiation of it, and respond by inclusion.

Off to re-read teh thread


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 01:29 PM

meself, the problem/challenge with and the interesting thing about posting on an internetional discussion forum is that sometimes what is witty or funny in one culture/nation is understood differently or not understood at all in another culture and thus isn't considered to be witty or funny.

Maybe a case in point-were you serious or cracking a joke when you wrote that "(I hear that now they've even begun to spell 'doughnut' as 'donut'!!)?

I thought the "standard" spelling for "donut" was "donut".

??

Also, I'm curious, do people in Europe [still] use the referent "Oriental" to refer to Asian people? And if so, which people is that word used to refer to? [yeah, I know it's bad English to end a sentence with a preposition, but hopefully you know what I'm saying]

Also, meself, when you said that "On another matter - the relative 'success of Orientals'. Azizi's post on the subject is very insightful", were you referring to the article I posted or my theory about the importance of Asians having never bought the meme from White people that they {Asians} were inferior, and that Asians had/have a strong sense of group esteem because they know that they are connected to a specific nation and culture?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 01:37 PM

I don't think the main worry is impact on how the power structure sees people. Its more the impact on how a whole bunch of other ordinary people are liable to see them.

There's a distinction between linguistic variance and innovation on the one hand, and the kind of rhetoric and posturing that Richard was referring to, on the other. It's important not to blur that distinction, and people sometimes do.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 02:12 PM

There's a distinction between linguistic variance and innovation on the one hand, and the kind of rhetoric and posturing that Richard was referring to, on the other. It's important not to blur that distinction, and people sometimes do.

I agree with you said, McGrath.

But in mainstream media and on mainstream Internet discussion forums {is Mudcat a mainstream forum?}, you hear & read much more about the "rhetoric and posturing" of hip hop culture than about hip hop culture's "linquistic variance and innovations".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 02:31 PM

"were you serious or cracking a joke when you wrote that "(I hear that now they've even begun to spell 'doughnut' as 'donut'!!)?"

That was an attempt at humour - or should that be 'humor'? 'Doughnut' is the standard spelling outside the U.S. In the last few years, the spelling 'donut' has been sneaking illegally across the border into Canada ...

"do people in Europe [still] use the referent "Oriental" to refer to Asian people?"

I don't know. I used it myself until fairly recently, when I noticed that everyone seemed to be saying 'Asian', and I sensed I'd missed some shift in the zeitgeist. As with every pc term, there's an objection: mine to this one is that it's so exceedingly vague - Asia can include everything from Russia to Japan ... But I'm not going to get worked up over it ...

"were you referring to the article I posted or my theory about the importance of Asians having never bought the meme from White people that they {Asians} were inferior, and that Asians had/have a strong sense of group esteem because they know that they are connected to a specific nation and culture?"

I was referring to 'your theory'; I think it's right on the money. This matter of 'feeling inferior' is the basis of much if not all the problems we've been talking about. I don't think it's often spoken of, probably because it's uncomfortable to admit - and I applaud your forthrightness in doing so - and it's not widely understood. So, for instance, a white person may justify his intolerant attitude in regard to racial issues by saying that some African-American kid called him a 'honky', without realizing that the exasperation and/or fear he felt at the time is not the same thing as the 'pain' that Hilda Fish spoke of in the message you quoted. Being annoyed by some insolent kid is not the same as having someone use language to inflame an old and deep wound - as you of course know. By the way, I speak as a white person who has spent a great deal of time as a distinct minority, and has experienced once in a while what I could call 'reverse racism' - including being questioned by white police and border guards for being the lone white person among a group of non-whites. But I never felt that this gave me more than the remotest sense of what real racial discrimination is like.

Another point worth noting in regard to this idea of 'feeling inferior' is that it is perpetuated by family dysfunction and social problems, so that even though legal impediments and social sanctions against 'progress' may be removed, psychological and emotional barriers remain. Again, as you know, but it seems a bit of a subtle notion for people to grasp who haven't been through it or seen it close up.

More later (I'll get to Richard's comments, but I've got to get to work here ... )


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: mg
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 02:36 PM

I never said anything about sex being wrong. I said having children without fathers was wrong. Once a person is old enough, mature enough, there is a consensual relationship, diseases are not passed out etc I do not care what people do and I do not approach this from a standpoint of sexual morality. That is up to the people involved. It is economic morality and it is child welfare morality. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 02:46 PM

Let's clear up one misunderstanding. To the UK user at least

"Oriental" = Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc
"Asian" = Indian, Pakistani, etc
"Arabic" = a hell of a large grouping curiously not often including Jewish whatever geneticists tell us. Personally I'd put Egypt in there and not in "African".
"Semitic" = Jewish, and for some reason not including the stock of Israel's neighbours who are genetically similar but religiously different
"Eastern Meditteranean" = a swathe from Greece down to Isreal
"Eastern European" = Russian, Latvian, Estonian
"Slavic" - hardly used
No convenient referent for Malay or Australasian indigenous peoples, or indeed quite a bunch of mid-pacific peoples


Oh, and yes, "Doughnut" is the original English spelling because those tasties are made of dough.


Now onto some of Azizi's thoughts:

"Yet, I'm wondering if one key difference between African Americans {those who were enslaved} and Asian Americans, was that Asian Americans had strong racial/ethnic identities, and ties to a motherland/homeland while African Americans did not."

My first reaction was to doubt the postulate, but then it occurred to me that the normal practices of slaveowners would have destabilised family units and so preculded after as little a period as one generation any significant handing down of black cultures and languages and traditions of origin. So that's a possible factor, but then we maybe need to ask what it is about Oriental cultures (bear in mind that the Koreans are much discriminated against by the Japanese, and so it goes on) that might provide a rung on the ladder to success.

Then, what might be a rung, but statistically a smaller one, for Asians?

If we accept "Confucian and related ethical systems, which emphasize obedience to authority, and the primacy of family, education, and government" what provides a similar set of virtues for Asians? One might try for Buddhism, but it isn't the ony religion and I am not aware of any evidence separating the achievement rates of Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims. Bear in mind too that the Indian caste system can be pretty horrifying.



"It seems to me that having a strong sense of self, strong historical and cultural memories of greatness and maintaining on some level ties with a home country would strengthen the spirit and resolve of people who were facing racism and discrimination.

I'm also wondering if having those ties and memories innoculated Asians against accepting the myth of Asian inferiority that White Americans believed. I think that this is a critical difference between African Americans and Asian Americans.

For a very long time in our history in the USA and the rest of the Americans, most Black people believed that we were inferior to White people, and to all other people for that matter. I don't think that most Asians believed that."

Well allowing for the confusion between Orientals (who are I think those that Azizi means by Asians at that stage), would it be consistent to try to put a thiery in place for Asians? I am not a scholar on their history but surely the last really prestigious empire in India was the period of the Mughal emperors, who were supplanted by teh Mahrajahs who were conquered by the British (Afghanistan excepted). They then suffered a period when they wer told systematically that ther culture was worthless and that they were inferior to the white man, until the "Jewel in the Crown" was lost. So maybe that repossession of India (despite its later schism from Pakistan) provides a platform for a sense of self-worth.



"Unfortunately, I think that some African Americans still believe that they are intellectually inferior to White people and other people." I don't know. The vast majority of my students at one of the universities I teach at are African or Arabic and I don't see that in the Africans. When I was studying Engineering it was an act of faith for us that the Shell scholars there were usually a lot cleverer than us.



"Having a positive group identity is an important part of self-esteem." Yes

"In my opinion, that is what many Black people have been lacking for a long time." I'd have guessed that that ended in the late 60s with the Black Power movement.

"One way that Black Americans have achieved at least a positive group identity is the adoption of the group name "African American". This group name re-affirms our connection with the continent of Africa and even on a surface level helps us to feel connected to the glories of traditional African cultures {by traditional African cultures I include Egypt, but also include Ethiopia, ancient Sudan, ancient Ethiopia, ancient Ghana, Mali, Songhay, and other kingdoms..." I'd have to quibble a bit. I wouldn't put Egypt in there. Hell, Egypt was one of the great protagonists of the slave trade, real movers and shakers in that, and to my eye the culture is not very "African". But there are so many African cultures from the Bushmen to the Masai warrior that I wonder about the catch-all.

"As I've noted, much of the connection that African Americans have with traditional Africa is very surface. But it is a beginning on the long road to feeling good about your people and your self.
I think that Asians and other peoples who always had this connection to their history and cultures may not realize how blessed they were and are because this was never taken away from them as a consequence of Europe and America's form of chattel slavery."

I think others have been dehumanised by colonialism and other oppression too. The native South Americans starting with the Spaniards - or maybe before, the tribes extinguished by the Incas. The East Indies by the Dutch. Australasia by the British and India by the British too. I am not at all sure that there was truly a common form of slavery between Europe and America (indeed maybe not across all America), and the larger point is that slavery has been a part of human culture from time immemorial until recently. It might be as Azizi suggests but I think one would need to look at tables of achievement and see if one could formulate a suitable trigger for most cases before buying into the theory.

Alternatively one could re-read the late unlamented Professor Eysenck and start suggesting that some races are more intelligent than others. Statistically some are taller, some are fatter, some have less resistance to alcohol, some get sickle cell anaemia while some don't, and some tolerate heat better than others while others tolerate the cold so in theory it might be possible (unpalatable though it seems) that some are more intelligent than others. But to the best of my recollection the last time Eysenck did run the argument he went down in flames big-time.

I suspect that relative achievment is cultural not innate. But I can't put my finger on what the cultural plus points are. They'd need to be identified across a range of cultures to build a theory. Sticking two fingers (or one if that is your culture) up at the power structure doesn't usually work.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 03:11 PM

John Hardly is aboslutely correct above that I didn't address a PM to him. I had fired one away to someone else here at Mudcat with regard to a totally unrelated thread. What a tangle! I do apologize to John for my mistaken impression, and for not rechecking my own archive of PM's before posting this morning. Ugh!

Charley Ignoble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 03:16 PM

One element that seems to be common between a number of immigrant communities that have managed to keep their heads above water, and even prosper, seems to be a tight but broad family structure that is able to act as an economic unit. That tends to be the case with South Asians and East Asians, and also of Jewish families, as well as others.

The slave system in America deliberately and persistently set out to destroy and prevent any kind of extended or at times even minimal family structure, and I wonder how far the consequences of this may have continued to have an impact.

It's easy to ignore how very recent the end of slavery in America was, in historical terms. When I was born there must still have been thousands of former slaves still alive. It's not very many generations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 03:26 PM

Various comments

When I refer to "Asians" I mean people who are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Filipino, and also East Indian {from India} and Pakistani, among others.

I wasn't aware that Oriental was still used in the UK to refer to people.

I've read somewhere that "oriental' mean rugs, and Asians mean people. I admit that I put oriental used as a racial referent right down there with the "n word". I cringe every time I read that words used to refer to people. I wonder how an American who is Asian responds to reading or hearing this referent.


**

"Having a positive group identity is an important part of self-esteem. In my opinion, that is what many Black people have been lacking for a long time." I'd have guessed that that ended in the late 60s with the Black Power movement.

-snip-

Well, the Black Power Movement was more in the 1970s and 1980s, so that would mean you're talking about at the most less than 40 years.

With regard to Egypt, check out the history of ancient Egypt and the Sudan. Nuff said, as far as I'm concerned.

Also, if we exclude all the countries in Africa which participated in the slave trade with Europe and Arab nations, we'd be excluded a large number of countries, wouldn't we?

Also, I'm absolutely not discounting that other peoples besides Black people "have been dehumanised by colonialism and other oppression too". And I decline to play the "who has had it worse" game that a lot of times in my life a number of non-Black people have wanted to play with me and with other Black people I've known.

No thank you. I'm not going there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 03:46 PM

"Asian" in England these days tends to be understood as meaning South Asian - India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Ceylon. Perhaps Afghanistan and Malaya.

"Oriental" as an adjective is not uncommon, say for food or carpets. Probably not for computers. East Asian would be seen as more appropriate for Chinese/Japanese etc. People from Arab countries would be referred to as Arabs. Which leaves lots of other countries rather free floating. "Other" is the heading they'd be expected to click in a census.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 04:06 PM

I want to clarify that the following sentences {with a minor correction} refer to Richard's sentence that "...Egypt was one of the great protagonists of the slave trade, real movers and shakers in that, and to my eye the culture is not very "African".

"With regard to Egypt, check out the history of ancient Egypt and the Sudan. Nuff said, as far as I'm concerned".

"Also, if we exclude from being part of Africa all the countries in Africa which participated in the slave trade with Europe and Arab nations, we'd be excluding a large number of countries, wouldn't we?"

And Richard, with regard to your sentence in that same post that
"But there are so many African cultures from the Bushmen to the Masai warrior that I wonder about the catch-all", the reason for the "catch-all" is that African Americans don't know which specific ethnic groups our African ancestors came from.

Although the African ancestors of most African Americans came from West Africa and central Africa, we claim all of what we consider to be good about Africa-no matter what region of that vast African continent that heritage it's from -West, Central, East, South, North, you name it.

For example, few African Americans know any traditional African language. However, the Central and Eastern African language Kiswahili is the one traditional African languages that more African Americans have the most knowledge about {even though that knowledge is still slight}. Btw, my name "Azizi" is Swahili, and a number of African Americans have been given or have self-selected Swahili names...

Also, I can recall in the late 1960s and 1970s how popular the ankh sybmol and the scrab beetle were among African Americans. And in the piSince the 1990s, kente cloth and Sankofa, another ancient Akan {Ghanaian, West Africa} cultural artifact have been very popular symbols of African Americans' re-claiming our connection to and our pride in mother Africa.*

Here's an excerpt about Sankofa that I've excerpted from the website whose link I've provided:

"Sankofa-Symbol of WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, and the PEOPLE'S HERITAGE

From the aphorism: Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a, yenkyi.

Literal translation: There is nothing wrong with learning from hindsight.

The word SANKOFA is derived from the words SAN (return), KO (go), FA (look, seek and take). This symbolizes the Akan's quest for knowledge with the implication that the quest is based on critical examination, and intelligent and patient investigation.

The symbol is based on a mythical bird that flies forwards with its head turned backwards. This reflects the Akan belief that the past serves as a guide for planning the future, or the wisdom in learning from the past in building the future.

The Akan believe that there must be movement with times but as the forward march proceeds, the gems must be picked from behind and carried forward on the march"

-snip-

I've seen the proverb "Sankofa" given as "It's never too late to go back and claim it".

In this context, for African Americans, "it" has come to mean our African heritage. Throughout urban communities in the USA, there are multiple Sankofa cultural centers, dance companies, music groups etc. And kente cloth sashes are worn by pastors, university graduates, and are printed on a myriad number of products from clothing, to hats, napkins, greeting cards, and umbrellas. When African Americans see kente cloth and Sankofa, we know that that product and/or that activity is primarily directed to us {that is, to Black people}.


* It's true that this knowledge of ancient African culture and concern for modern day Africa is very surface. But in my opinion, it's a step in the right direction.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 04:49 PM

Black human beings have a lot to wrestle with, and those engaged in areas where "racism" charges and sensitivities get passed about have a lot to wrestle with as well.

The persistency of the problem -- it seems to me -- is because of the huge number of false precepts that have been gathered up over the centuries as justifications on both sides, or buzz=phrases, or automatic thoughts of some kind. The same collection of stupid assumptions rolling forward has of cours contributed to the same kind f difficulty for people of Asian heritage in a predominantly white culture, but I think perhaps somewhat less heavily freighted.

A few minutes rational analysis quickly demonstrates that any expression starting with "Black people are___" is going to end up as a false proposition because it is the nature of such generalizations to try and make big, wide, over-arching generalizations out of sets of people that they do not uniform;y apply to, The very expression "being a black person" is inherently a falsehood in most uses -- the physical differences are so minor, and the internal similarities so great, that the phrase is a wrong indication, a catewgory wrongly created and wrongly imposed with all kinds of BS connotations that have nothing to do with the person within. That's my opinion, not to make less of the social fabric stuff that has evolved around it, but just to point out that it is a problem of great duration and great persistence because the truth of it is hard to see well and clearly.

That's my two bits for whatever it is worth.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: gnu
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 05:06 PM

300 posts. May I ask how many Black people have posted? I haven't read all the posts, and, even if I had, I wouldn't know. Anybody been keeping a count?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 05:33 PM

Anybody been keeping a count? So how would they know?   And in any case there's no way of knowing how many people have read the posts without posting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 06:20 PM

gnu, if your question were phrased, "How many people have posted on this thread who have publicly acknowledged on Mudcat that they are Black?", my count is three-if you count the comments that I reposted that Hilda Fish wrote on that archived "Response to Racism" Mudcat thread.

In addition to Hilda Fish, the two people are Quarcoo, who is from Ghana, West Africa and me {United States}.

If your question had been "How many people of color have posted on this thread {with "people of color" meaning those who have publicly acknowledged on Mudcat that they are non-White as the term "non-White" is currently defined by most people in the United States, my response would be the same. And I would be counting the same people who I counted for your first question.

If I were asked "How many people who posts on Mudcat are Black and/or are people of color?", I wouldn't know the answer to that question. However, I know that there is at least one other Black person who periodically posts on Mudcat. I know this because last year that Mudcat member sent me a private message and told me that he is African American. This Mudcat member also told me in that private message that he never posts to threads about race. He gave no reasons as to why he did not identify himself by race or why he did not participate in any Mudcat threads about race. That private message came out of the blue. Or at least, I don't recall any reason why he communicated with me. However, that pm probably coincided with a discussion about race that was going on at that time on another Mudcat thread. My response to this Mudcat member was that I regretted that he chose not to identify himself by race, but to each his or her own. By the way, I have received only a few other private messages from this member, but I have seen a photo of him that confirms that he is,indeed, of African descent.

And I will also say that he seems like a nice person.

But being nice doesn't have anything to do with the price of beans in Boston.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 07:22 PM

I don't think I was playing "Who had it worse?". My point was that if the fairly persuasive theory that interruption of cultural or famalial cohesion that might have enabled a memory of a historical culture could explain certain things, then if we made a rank order of the rates of "success" of ethnic groupings we should be abe to identify the factors that did or didn't interrupt the continuity of knowledge of their ascendants.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 07:59 PM

Oh. Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding of your comment, Richard. Sorry 'bout that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 11:34 PM

By golly things move fast; you go away for a day or two and you're well behind the conversation!

Asia can include everything from Russia to Japan
"Asian" in England these days tends to be understood as meaning South Asian - India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Ceylon. Perhaps Afghanistan and Malaya.

Although it's now seen only in historical references (like the Mediterranean coast of Africa being known as "Africa Minor") "Asia Minor" used to be understood as a term referring to what we now call "the Middle East". The latter, along with "the Far East" betray a Eurocentric perspective that has penetrated the English speaking world, even though both are 'geographically out of whack" for the American continent. They're both misleading geographically for Australians but we're used to being relegated to the provinces in such matters.

In terms of using ethnicity to put people down, though, Australian Immigration documentation describe all groups, from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean (unless they're carrying Israeli passports) all the way to the western shores of the Bering Sea. The "Indian subcontinent" (in Oz) includes Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, while Burma (now Myanmar), Malaysia through to Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as everything south of that arc but north of PNG would be referred to as "Southeast Asia" in Oz.

Another reference in the discussions has me pondering, again because of how I think of language as an influence over our perceptions.

of African descent and similar expressions seem routine but, to me, it seems to imply a movement that is downward in more than the genetic sense. I prefer to use "ancestry" (but then I've also never really seen the sense in the phrase "falling pregnant", for similar reasons) as , to me, it avoids the negative connotations that can be associated with 'downwards'

Someone earlier in the thread made the comment to the effect that, if a person had only one ancestor who was "Black", then "polite society" regarded that person as "Black". I think the poster designated the rise of this notion as occurring in the 18th century. To me, such notions are harkening back to a primitively agricultural (and untenable) notion of "blood" and ethnicity that still seems to have appeal to the simple minded, some of whom are legislators.

But I must go. for now.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 12:45 AM

"of African descent and similar expressions seem routine but, to me, it seems to imply a movement that is downward in more than the genetic sense."

For crying out loud. Are we all to be so worried about offending someone that we'll be struck dumb? Because I say you were descended from cave-dwelling Picts doesn't mean you are inferior to them, Rowan. I'm sure your cave is much more comfy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 03:24 AM

Over three hundred posts of people falling over themselves trying not to appear racist! Mudcat at its daftest!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: gnu
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 04:47 AM

McGrath... right. See you around 400 or maybe 500 or... maybe not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 09:50 AM

"Over three hundred posts of people falling over themselves trying not to appear racist! Mudcat at its daftest!"

Wonderful contribution there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 09:56 AM

Including the inevitable pointless posts like the last two...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 09:56 AM

And another wonderful person heard from.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 09:57 AM

That was for the 'wonderful' poster who seems to have lost his cookie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 09:58 AM

And one post of some person trying to appear - aw, never mind ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 12:29 PM

It may come as no surprise for anyone to know that I very much disagree with Paco Rabanne's 03 Mar 08 - 03:24 AM opinion about this thread.

I believe this thread is Mudcat as its finest.

I think that subjects such as race & racism are complicated and emotive, and potentially volative. For this reason, a lot of people don't even try to discuss this kind of subjects. But we tried.

Given the subject matter, it's not surprising that we didn't always agree with each other. But I believe that we discussed this subject without wallowing in the mud.

And, given the fact that this is Mudcat, I think that's a big compliment to us all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 07:19 PM

Hmm, I'm sure I said this before. The Mudcat post eater seems to be hiding under the bridge again.

Paco Rabanne says:
"Over three hundred posts of people falling over themselves trying not to appear racist!"

I hoped and thought we were succeeding, largely.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 09:26 PM

While we're meditating on the relevance of this thread, here's another story from another time when things were more difficult than they may be today for African Americans. It's based on my family's experience in the World War 2 period and we had a family friend read it at my Father's memorial service:

Jabo

Sometimes appealing to someone in higher authority works if you can figure out the way to get access, if you're persistent, and if they're inclined to listen. I'm thinking back to one of my Father's stories which goes back to the issues of racism and social justice within our armed forces during WW II.

One of our summer neighbors in Maine employed Willie Paul Campbell, a Black man nicknamed "Jabo," as a chauffeur and handyman. When Jabo was drafted into the army, after basic training, he was assigned for further training as a cook. All the cook trainees were Black and during the training there was a special event at the base and the Black trainees were not invited and they were not pleased. Well, I'm not sure what went on between the trainees at that point, but later that night Jabo and his brothers broke into the armory, armed themselves with rifles and forced their way into the party. No one was seriously injured but when the military police were called in, all the Blacks were hauled off to the brig and subsequently tried for mutiny. Jabo was identified as a ringleader and perhaps he was. He did stand over 6 feet tall and weighed over 250 pounds, and certainly cut an imposing figure. It's also rumored that the principal person who testified against him owed him money from gambling. Jabo was convicted of leading the muntiny and sentenced to be shot. Our family finally got news of this from Jabo's former employers by phone one evening and Father began to consider if there was anything he could do to help. Now Father at that point was a dairy farmer, not exactly one of the political or economic elite of this country. However, he had been a teacher in the 1930's at an experimental progressive school in West Virginia, known as the Arthurdale Project, set up by Eleanor Roosevelt and some of her friends for unemployed coal miners. Father drafted a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, asking her to personally look into the facts of this case. He was disappointed to receive in a couple of weeks a form response with no indication that they had even met. He decided to send a longer letter and this time received a handwritten letter from Eleanor with an apology and assurance that the incident would be looked into. She did follow through with her investigation and Jabo was cleared of the most serious charges but was dishonorably discharged from the army. However, at that point he was a very happy man! Father was very pleased too. I have fond memories of listening to Jabo's stories when he'd come up every year with our summer neighbors but I never heard this story till years later.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 11:02 PM

"of African descent and similar expressions seem routine but, to me, it seems to imply a movement that is downward in more than the genetic sense."

For crying out loud. Are we all to be so worried about offending someone that we'll be struck dumb? Because I say you were descended from cave-dwelling Picts doesn't mean you are inferior to them, Rowan. I'm sure your cave is much more comfy.


You're probably right about my particular cave LEJ, but our different appreciations of the language implications in "descent" may be attributable to differences of experience, context (social, national or disciplinary) or basic attitude; in your case I'm sure it's not our basic attitudes that are different.

Australia, which is my context, is multicultural in that we have people from almost every country around the globe; all of us except those with only Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestry are the descendants of immigrants and the earliest of these immigrants (the colonising group) came from a social context that put the meanest and lowliest of them "above" the indigenous locals. The racism behind such social barriers are very well described (although in an Indian setting) in EM Forster's "A passage to India", where it was clearly understood that the highest indigenous stratum was "subordinate" to every member of the colonising group.

In this, Australian indigenes share a similar status with indigenous Indians in India and 'The first nations' of both Canada and the US, and for the same reasons; they were colonised peoples. Australian indigenes may share their skin colour with both African American "Blacks" and many immigrants in Britain who've come from countries that Britain colonised, especially those whose ancestors were enslaved. But even though the "slavery" of the Australian indigenes has never been formally recognised as such, unlike that of those with African ancestry, they are still demeaned socially. I'm not in the US so I can only observe from a distance but I get the impression that the resentments of African Americans, while rooted in dispossession, that dispossession was a result of the slavery of their ancestors rather than the dispossession purely as a result of being colonised. But the demeaning of all these groups has the same causes and effects.

Some of the demeaning has been institutional; while the art of "white" people has routinely been collected and displayed in national galleries, the art of Aboriginal and other coloured peoples has routinely been (until quite recently) displayed in museums of natural history. If museums have collections of skeletal materials, almost always the collection is mostly from "coloured" peoples rather than from "white peoples"; Spitalfields is a rare exception and the British Museum has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even consider the return of Aboriginal remains (quite literally) "stolen" by "white" people.

In most "Western" societies "whiteness is "us" and "Black" or "coloured" is "them" and "other" and definitely "not us"; "we" do the studying and curation and paternalism of "them". Because "they" are "less than us". You may have guessed by now that I have particular sensitivities because of my context and I may as well let on that, by profession I have many dealings with Australian Aborigines; at both personal and professional levels I try to be sensitive to their perceptions and understandings.

A colloquial term of approval for a good bloke, common in Oz and probably elsewhere, "He's a white man!" It has even been used, in the past, as a term of approval for people in Oz who are coloured. Its qualitative modifier is "He's a real white man!"

I cringe at the racism behind such an apparently innocent statement and wouldn't dream of uttering it or any of the phrases associating blackness with "bad" or "evil". But I may be a wimp. [Having a left handed daughter I even wince at the casual use of "dextrous", "sinister" and "kack-handed", so I must be a wimp.] While I've acknowledged my ancestry I can't say that I have any particular pride in it; I may as well be proud of my eye colour or my height or any other attribute over which I've had no control. Garbage!

I don't expect you to share my senstivities, because it's likely you come from quite different contexts and have other strengths, but I would ask you not to dismiss them or demean them until you can demonstrate their inadequacies.

You might be correct in your attribution of "Pictish" to my ancestry, but it's too far back for me to discern; the "Rowan" came out of the blue, before my mother knew her own ancestry.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 05:34 AM

I thought that I had decided not to post to this thread anymore. But I just woke up from a dream with these words sing songing in my head Noah's Ark Noak's Ark Noah's Ark. And the plot that of that dream that I remembered was very long and involved but mostly centered around a person who had thought that they were making changes in the world by adding some kind of chemical to the atmosphere to cause it to rain in a place where there had been too little rain for too long. And it did rain, and red wildflowers with yellow spots in their middle grew and they were beautiful. But then it rained and the red & yellow wild flowers kept getting bigger and it rained some more and the wild flowers got bigger and it rained and rained and rained and the flowers got bigger and bigger and bigger and the person realized the wrong she had done trying to mess with mother nature but she didn't mean no harm but harm was done anyway and she cried as the water rose higher and higher she was carried by the water and other people were carried also toward these volzwagon beatle type vans of different colors but all shaped the same. And the vans were being driven or were floating down the middle of this water which had come about because of the woman's good intentioned mistake which was more than a mistake since it meant the end of the world not just the world that she knew but the world for every body else. The procession of vans was going in a vertical line straight ahead but where? As the woman was carried by the water's movement she cried and cried she saw the procession of vans ahead of her and thought if she could get on board one of those vans than she could be saved and if other people could than they would be saved also. And as she thought this the main thing that echoed in her head was Noah's Ark Noak Ark Noak's Ark. And she floated closer and closer to one of the vans.

And then I woke up.

with thoughts about that scene and bits and pieces of the story which it was a part of but also with thoughts about this Mudcat thread. I thought about my good intentions for starting this thread and I thought about the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". Then I thought about Rodney King's saying "Can't we all get along?" and I thought about the bickering that was occurring on this thread the last time I checked. Right after that the Smokey Robinson song "Tracks of My Tears" popped into my mind and right after that came a memory of an experience I had in the 1980s when a crazy woman or was she crazy? chanted over and over again on the bus "America is the last leg of the last trip of Christ's 2000 year old journey through SPACE. And then came the question "Suppose this is a test?" Suppose right now at this time in the world when the planets are aligned a certain way and people are ready for it then are tested to see if they really are ready? Suppose throughout the world in different ways people who mean well are tested in different ways to see if they stay true to themselves when they are taunted or maligned or treated badly. They have a choice will they keep to the high road or take the low road and if they take the low that means that failed the test and we who are the world we the people aren't ready yet to move on to the next stage of our development but still there are Noah's Arks to save us or at least save those of us who can make it on to those arks. I hope we yield not to temptation but we keep on keepin on showing that we not only can get along but we can learn from others and we can deal with heavy duty subjects like what is discussed in this thread in truly civilized way without getting down and without getting dirty.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 07:55 AM

I believe Australians these days are generally quite pleased if they can prove that they are descended from convicts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 11:42 AM

Back in 04 I got hammered in a thread about the ethnicity of Mudcatters for observing that there seemed to be very few African Americans posting. With longer experience of the Forum I now know enough to ignore coat-trailing 'what's your problem?'responses from people who sign themselves GUEST, but the memorable thing is that it was Azizi who, a bit later, made what,to me, was the most interesting posting. And she's still doing it. I still find it a bit odd, though, that Ziz is in such a small minority (here, I mean) when, as a matter of simple statistical probability you'd expect that not to be so.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 12:35 PM

Rowan, I fully understand what you are saying, and appreciate the insights from a cultural point of view.
We have a saying here in the States which is equally repulsive to the one you sited, when thanking someone for doing a good turn..."that's mighty white of you." Lately, the trend in its use has become more sarcastic, it is used more often by people of color, and used to emphasize negative white traits. Tit for tat, I suppose.
We still disagree on the "descended from" issue. I happen to be descended from Scotch-Irish, Swedish, and Cherokee forebears, and look on all of my family history with interest, if not always pride. Yes, my mother's family is rooted in Southern Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, and while my Great Grandfather x 3 Jacob Elder apparently held two black slaves, his grandson David rode in the Union Cavalry to end slavery. He is the same man who wedded a Cherokee woman after returning from the Civil War, a woman that was mentioned only in whispers, even into my Mom's generation. But I am descended from him and am proud of his spirit, and of my Cherokee heritage as well. My hope is that, in time, the blood of all of those who were maltreated will be celebrated by their descendants.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Wesley S
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM

My great-grandmother on my fathers side of the family was a full blooded Ojibwa indian. And that was never really talked about until we were adults. Appearently my grandmother was not happy that she had married a "half-breed" indian. But when you look at my great-grandmothers photo you can see it. And all the males in our family have her nose. The story is that my great-grandmother was sold several times. I guess that made her a slave.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 02:44 PM

John Hardly is an American, and has been an honorable member of Mudcat for long enough that many of us know it, out of hand.

To my way of thinking, it is a bit presumptuous to jump to conclusions as to where he is from based on an interpretation of something he has said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 04:23 PM

I believe Australians these days are generally quite pleased if they can prove that they are descended from convicts.

There was a peak of such sentiment, publicly, in the lead-up to "The Bicentennial" and for some years following it. And, as I was then teaching history, I taught some of the basic genealogical techniques and tried them out on my own ancestry to exemplify them. So, yes, it was with some interest that I found I had ancestors on both ends of the ball and chain; the Ensign that came out in the Second Fleet took, as his common-law wife, the daughter of a pair of First Fleet convicts. Incidentally, it wasn't until I got to South Carolina that I discovered the background to the commutation of the thug's original sentencing ("Death") to "Transportation to Africa"; I had thought New South Wales was automatically their destination.

But "pride"? Nah! "Interest" certainly.

On a note more central to the thread, while we make our posts as part of an ongoing conversational correspondence, our 'conversations' are not just "ours" and ephemeral; it seems there are others who use them for legitimate research purposes. I suspect this one might be of more interest than many 'below the line'.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 05:02 PM

I'm amazed that this thread has so many posts. I didn't like the idea of it in the first place, but there have been some worthwhile posts. I don't really think that racism is an issue here at Mudcat. Everyone says things at times that are racially insensitive, but that's life. We humans are intrinsically awkward, and often say things that don't come out right and make us sound like we're far more hateful than we actually are. And there's something about the Internet that amplifies awkward expression, and makes it quadrupally offensive.

But most people here are people of good will, and they are not essentially racist even when what they say has rough edges.

In my 25 years as an investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, I had to do a number of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) cases, investigations of complaints of discrimination in federal employment. Now, federal employees, like Mudcatters, are usually pretty fair-minded people, and there really aren't many racists in positions of power in the feds. While there isn't a lot of racism among the feds (or Mudcat), the federal government has a good number of people who are either incredibly nasty or incredibly stupid or incredibly vulnerable (often due to stupidity or obnoxiousness) - and the same thing takes place at Mudcat.

So, in my investigation of complaints of discrimination, I very rarely found racial discrimination (or any other legally prohibited forms of discrimination). I found discrimination based on personal dislike, pettiness, or just plain orneriness - but the law didn't cover any of those. I find all sorts of nastiness, and almost always found improper or unwise personnel practices - but my investigation could result in mandated changes only if there were actual discrimination. I also often found that the person complaining was wrong - that the complainer was obnoxious, stupid, incompetent, or just nasty. I also often found that the complainer was the kind of person who made himself or herself vulnerable to persecution - usually by obnoxiousness or stupidity. Same thing often happens at Mudcat - and it isn't due to racial discrimination. So, I think that if a person finds Mudcat (or federal employment) "difficult," it probably isn't because of race.

-Joe-


As an aside - while my investigations often didn't mandate a change, they did point out the problems. Oftentimes, that was enough to convince somebody that changes were needed. I suppose the same could be true at Mudcat - we may not have racism, but we certainly do have problems. Pointing them out in a rational manner may help solve the problems.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 05:09 PM

Spot on, Joe!

Even the 'difficult' posts prompt me to have another look at my own perceptions and the variety of contexts resident on Mudcat keep my thoughts "on their toes". A bit like a work in progress.

Cheers, Rowan.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 06:04 PM

And as if to illustrate your own point that "We humans are intrinsically awkward, and often say things that don't come out right and make us sound like we're far more hateful than we actually are", your post COULD be (mis)interpreted as a pretty hard kick at the original poster: ' also often found that the person complaining was wrong - that the complainer was obnoxious, stupid, incompetent, or just nasty. I also often found that the complainer was the kind of person who made himself or herself vulnerable to persecution - usually by obnoxiousness or stupidity. Same thing often happens at Mudcat - and it isn't due to racial discrimination. So, I think that if a person finds Mudcat (or federal employment) "difficult," it probably isn't because of race.' Well .. maybe it is a pretty hard kick at the original poster ... ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 06:13 PM

who, btw, was not complaining particularly about racism and racists, but about the awkwardness of feeling it was so often up to her to respond to comments that expressed troubling attitudes or ideas pertaining to race, as one of the perhaps two self-identified persons of colour on the forum ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 06:16 PM

I think one of the points is that if we are 'all' so open to discussion, then why WOULD only PoC respond to perceived racism on the threads? Shouldn't that be the issue for any people of good will regardless of their 'ethnicity'?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 07:07 PM

Yes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 06:00 PM

Joe's post can indeed be read in the way meself suggested it could be,   with the general points he makes from his experience directed at Azizi.   I very much doubt that would have been what Joe was intending.
............................................

So far as overt and intentional racismis concerned, I think you can indeed expect that there will be a response from "people of good will regardless of their 'ethnicity'". If the post survives long enough to get a response.

But there are plenty of times when it's not racism as such, but a kind of misunderstanding, or an unexamined assumption - "troubling attitudes or ideas pertaining to race" as meself put it. And I think a lot of those "people of good will" are less liable to feel they have the personal knowledge that is really required in a response. Or they may well not pick up on the "troubling" nature of the post - thye may even share that unexamined assumption.

A lot of the time, when some post indicates a damaging misunderstanding about our corner of the world or something like that, and we feel some response is needed, by the time we get round to sending one, it's already been done. We don't have to feel we are the only one who can do it, because we aren't. But if we were, we'd be in the same position as Azizi, and I think we'd find it "difficult" at times.

I thin this has been a pretty valuable thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 06:09 PM

With you all the way, McG of H.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 06:36 PM

"A lot of the time, when some post indicates a damaging misunderstanding about our corner of the world or something like that, and we feel some response is needed, by the time we get round to sending one, it's already been done. "

So true. Even if the differences in time zones mean most of you are "behind" Oz, the activity in those time zones mean that the conversation has usually moved well along by the time I get to see it. Which means that, while I may feel my two bob's worth has already been said (often more eloquently than I could say it), I am usually reassured by the sheer quality and quantity of goodwill on Mudcat when members (and guests, often) leap in to explore and reconcile misunderstandings or misconceptions.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 07:26 PM

"I very much doubt that would have been what Joe was intending."

It would certainly be inconsistent with the entirely-favourable impression I have recieved of Joe from other posts ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 07:56 PM

Yo, Mizzi...

I think I've had that dream myself... Anyway it sounded like something I might have had...

I should but I don't have much to add to this thread because race is something that I just no longer see unless I make myself see...

I think it was workin' as a jail house teacher in Richmond and then workin' in a drug rehab program where everyone, other than me, was black...

My apologies!!!

Yeah, I know that I should have something really radical to say here but I don't... But if I did, Rodney King beat me to it...

Hey, Mizz, I can't rightfully say what it's like to be a black woman here in Mudville but I can say that I might be the only white person who has ever been so closely intwined with black folks that hearin' these folks call me "nigga" made me proud...

That may not make much sense but I reckon it's a close to a "Can't we all get along" part of my life...

No, I haven't read this entire thread... I can't... About 15 minutes of computer is about all I can do with a pinched nerve and I have now used up my 15 minutes...

Bobert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 02:22 AM

Participants & readers of this thread may be interested in this dailykos dairy about race & racism.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/6/1735/10696/636/470253

As point of information, that diary [essay] is written by a Native Ameican.

Here's a long excerpt of that dairy:

Racism in 21st Century America
by Meteor Blades
Wed Mar 05, 2008

Not so very long ago, there was a great deal of talk around various progressive parts of wwwLand about how the "half-white, half-black" Barack Obama had "transcended" race and racism. Well, actually, not so much talk about that, but rather talk about why talking about racism is by its very nature divisive.

Racism is divisive. However, not talking about it doesn't make it go away.

Many people find straight-up discussions of the subject uncomfortable. Or irrelevant. One expression I have heard for the past 20 or so years from whites – both friends and others – goes along the lines of: why do black people (Indians, etc.) keep bringing up racial issues? Things are different now. True. In my lifetime, progress has been made. But race and racism still factor greatly in the social, cultural and political life of this nation. Look at voter suppression. Look at our prisons. Look at our reservations. Look at the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

As idiotic as it sounds, not so very long ago, every child born in Louisiana with at least 1/32nd degree of African-American ancestry was categorized as black. In other words, you could be 96% "white" and still be "black" for the sake of "separate but equal" laws, including, most ironically, the prohibition against miscegenation, which obviously didn't work as well as its racial "purity" advocates desired. Homer Plessy (of the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson separate-but-equal case), was actually seven-eighths white, one-eight black. One of the claims his lawyers brought forth in his suit against Louisiana was that state law deprived him of the property of his whiteness without due process. In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed with him in a 7-1 ruling almost as terrible as the Dred Scot ruling of 40 years earlier.

A hundred and twenty-five years ago, after being heavily criticized by his enemies and many of his friends for choosing Helen Pitts as his second wife, the ex-slave abolitionist Frederick Douglass - my No. 1 hero - put the whole matter into a perspective that too many Americans still have not come to grips with: "My first wife was the color of my mother, and my second wife, the color of my father."

When I was a kid in the South, we were referred to as "red niggers" and placed alongside blacks in the category of "colored" when it came to using drinking fountains, restrooms, cafes, motels, movie theaters, swimming pools and buses. It didn't matter that half my family could – out of our home stomping grounds – "pass white" because we were a mix of Seminoles, Scots and African-Americans. The situation epitomized the idiocy of "racial" classifications, the idiocy of "blood" prejudice, and the idiocy of separating human beings from human beings.

Race is a human creation (just like class), not a product of biology, though it is created out of, and with, the markers and tools of biology. Five years ago, the PBS Special, Race – The Power of Illusion, pointed out what's become scientifically irrefutable in the era of DNA studies: there's only one race, the human race. But years of misguided science, stereotypes, imperialism, and culture clashes have created the concept of race to the point where, basically, it is now entrenched in the human psyche, and no amount of scientific evidence can undo it. Just how idiotic this is can be seen in what is designated as "white." Let's face it, any "race" that includes both full-blooded Swedes and full-blooded Sicilians is a very elastic definition.

But because of its history, race now has a significance that it is anti-progressive to ignore. Once introduced into human society, race has implications and human experiences are shaped by it. To ignore the implications of those experiences is a wrong-headed approach, I believe. We are all humans, but our histories and experiences have not all been the same. The question isn't to pretend that this isn't the case, but what we do with that knowledge and recognition.

In a perfect world, perhaps, we'd all be colorblind. But in my experience it's mostly been white people who have claimed to be colorblind and black people who have said they want their blackness to be acknowledged. Black and proud. I've heard black people lament how many times they've been told, "I don't think of you as black," as if that's supposed to be a compliment or as if they're being separated out from other blacks and praised as "one of the good ones." ...

One of the media conversations I'm peripherally aware of ... is the "why do people call Obama black?" It's quite fascinating, really, that this is an issue. The same issue was raised when Halle Berry won her Oscar. I'll try to be kind to those raising it, but they really seem to have a view of race as being genetic or "in the blood," which is, uh, a rather interesting view of race. The "one drop rule" still exists -- not because it's government imposed, but because if you look black people categorize you as black. Now, I look forward to a colorblind society but it doesn't exactly exist right now. Obama is black because people see him as black. The content of "black blood" in him is irrelevant. I highly doubt any of the people saying this didn't think of Obama as a "black man" before they discovered that one of his parents was white. ...

But, as for why this issue is coming up now specifically, Obama himself says it much better than I ever could:

"If I was arrested for armed robbery and my mug shot was on the television screen, people wouldn't be debating if I was African-American or not. I'd be a black man going to jail. Now if that's true when bad things are happening, there's no reason why I shouldn't be proud of being a black man when good things are happening, too".

[posted as a block quote with a link to an archived article; hyperlink will not work; source:THE SPEAKER; A Surprise Senate Contender Reaches His Biggest Stage Yet; Monica Davey, New York Times, Julu 20, 2004]

[African American blogger Steve] Gilliard weighed in with his own remarks:

"In America, there are two classes of people, white and not-white. If you are white, then you are white, but if you are not white, you are NOT WHITE. Have you ever heard of anyone described as half-white, unless they were visibly another race? No matter how pretty or how smart, if you are not white in America, you are not white.

But Obama didn't have to use the example of armed robbery, all he had to say is if he got into an elevator, some white woman would clutch her purse. The double Ivy League grad (Columbia, Harvard Law) is not white in America, to what degree doesn't matter, he could be half-Mexican like Bill Richardson or Jeb Bush's kids, and they are not white. It's not the degree of blackness you have, but the lack of whiteness.

In Latin America, any white heritage makes you white. Whiteness is the positive value, because when they were shipping slaves west, there were so few whites that interbreeding wasn't only essential, but encouraged. Of course, when you get to Brazil, which had slavery until 1888, blacks are still the vast majority, but still discriminated against based on skin color. One of my professors said that when he was in Brazil, the family he visited hid their black child.

But because of chattel slavery in the US, and the limited number and expense of slaves, meant that any black blood (later to be expanded to other ethnic groups) meant you were black. Now, my great grandmother was Native American, but no one calls us Indians. Most African-Americans from the Carolinas have some native heritage, but black is the catchall phrase used to describe us all. ...

When some of Thomas Jefferson's black descendents were found, most of who looked as white as any other white person, some of their neighbors began to treat them differently, of course, this was on Staten Island, where racism is a local sport, but still. Any black heritage was seen to make them black, even though Sally Hemmings was only half-black to begin with. She was Jefferson's sister-in-law. It took decades for the white Jefferson descendents to allow their black relatives to be part of the family.

I was watching the Super Bowl with my friends and someone said something about being black. My friend said, well, I'm not all black. I said, "well, 25 percent makes you a member of the club and 50 percent gets you a seat at the table."

Italians love to insult Sicilians by saying they're part black. It's one of the most common jokes heard.

Barack Obama is black because he looks black. His actual heritage is not relevant. His upbringing is not relative. All you have to do in America is look black to be black. Because that is how people will treat you"

[end of block quote]

The "half-white, half-black" theme simply fails to acknowledge the reality that both Obama and Gilliard pointed to.

We can and must talk about what the ideal would be. But we don't yet live in an ideal world, not anything close to it, and we have to address the world we live in, a world in which multiracial people are considered black, or, as Gilliard preferred, "non-white." I've seen enough change in my life to believe that my grandchildren may live in a world, or at least a country, where race won't matter as much. And perhaps not at all by the time their grandchildren come along. Where anti-racism will be unnecessary because redundant.

Getting there means pointing out and ridiculing the irrational 17th century groupings of humans and striving for a broader and more moral view of humanity. It means acknowledging the realities of racism today and simultaneously pushing for a better conception of humanity. Same as it always has"...

-snip-

Needless to say, I wholeheartedly agree with the comments made by the diarist and the comments that I've quoted here which were included in that dairy. I consider this essay and the comments which are posted to it to be very interesting & informative and I strongly encourage Mudcat members and guests to take some time to read the entire essay and the comments in response to that diary.

As point of information, dailykos is a Democratic progressive online community whose membership is racially & ethnically diverse. The community surveys its members annually to ascertain their race, gender, age, income, geographical location, political party, and other demographics. And the results of those separate surveys are publicly posted in a forum dairy. It's not unusual in discussions about race [and less frequently, in other discussions as the person considers it pertinent] for a dailykos member to make reference to his or her race or ethnicity [with "ethnicity" as I'm defining it here meaning "Latino"]. The majority of that blog's members are White, but/and there is an active "contingent" of dailykos who are non-White. Given its mission to promote the election of Democrats within the USA, it's not surprising that the overwhelming majority of members of dailykos are from the USA. However, there appears to be a much smaller number of dailykos members from Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Unlike Mudcat, no guests can post on dailykos. For what it's worth, I am a regular lurker to that website, and am not now nor have I ever been a member of dailykos.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 03:09 AM

Yes, and the same would largely be true of England. Curiously the "clutch the purse" reaction might have been weaker in the 60s although the formal racism would have been stronger.

It seems to me that the apparent prevalence of the violent images of African-American culture in much urban music and much audiovisual output, and the copycat response in young Afro-Carribean culture within the UK has resulted in a modern reinforcement of the "clutch the purse" response here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 07:06 AM

The same kind of unfavourable and threatening stereotypes can apply to some extent just being a man. Or to a kid wearing a hoodie. I suspect that someone looking like a Hells Angel would cause more disquiet in a lift than someone looking like Obama.

But Obama would be identified as being black in such a casual encounter by the same people who might question whether he should be counted as "black" in a political context, and that was the point being made.

It's inevitable that people will be prone to make a provisional judgement about strangers on the basis of stereotypes they have built up, largely in the modern world from the media. Skin colour, and stereotypes related to that, is one factor here, but not the only one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 11:36 AM

The thing about the "clutch the purse on the elevator" reaction is that you are only aware of it in relation to yourself--if it's done to others, you don't see it-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 01:25 PM

If you have that reaction yourself, you might notice who it is that tends to set it off. A group of hoodies on the street at night might tend to prompt me to cross the road discreetly. I don't think their colour would make any difference, even if I could see that kind of thing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 05:46 PM

As idiotic as it sounds, not so very long ago, every child born in Louisiana with at least 1/32nd degree of African-American ancestry was categorized as black.

It was with some surprise that I found out, when staying in South Carolina, that this "1/32nd degree of ancestry" rule still applied to the official US Federal definition of Indianness, to use an awkward but succinct term. If you met that criterion (and no other) for a particular, and "recognised" Indian tribe you were acknowledged in law to be a member of that tribe. [I apologise for the use of terms that may offend but I've now lost touch with the acceptable ones.] At the time, it struck me that this was not only an imposed racism, it also had the effect of institutionalising a form of genocide; some of the tribes now have such small populations of people that members must "marry out", reducing the "proportion" of the Indian part of their offspring's ancestry to less than the legislated "1/32" for recognition.

This perception was behind what I referred to above as an "agricultural" construction of identity, popular among various sections of the UK and those countries formed from colonisation from the UK; I'm not particularly targeting the UK in this but this particular meme has had a long life among Anglophones.

I thought Mudcatters might be interested in how the matter of Indigenous identity has been constructed (against the same agricultural meme in the background) in Australia, and found the following, as presented by members of the Indigenous community.

We are the Indigenous people of Australia. Aboriginal people are those traditional cultures and lands lie on the mainland and most of the islands, including Tasmania, Fraser Island, Palm Island, Mornington Island, Groote Eylandt, Bathrust and Melville Islands. [*] The term "Aboriginal" has become one of the most disputed in the Australian language.

The Commonwealth definition is social more than racial, in keeping with the change in Australian attitudes away from racialistic thinking about other people. An Aboriginal person is defined as a person who is a descendant of an Indigenous inhabitant of Australia, identifies as an Aboriginal, and is recognised as Aboriginal by members of the community in which she or he lives.

This definition is preferred by the vast majority of our people over the racial definitions of the assimilation era. Administration of the definition, at least by the Commonwealth for the purposes of providing grants or loans, requires that an applicant present a certificate of Aboriginality issued by an incorporated Aboriginal body under its common seal.
Sometimes non-Aboriginal people get confused by the great range and variety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, from the traditional hunter to the Doctor of Philosophy; from the dark-skinned to the very fair; from the speaker of traditional languages to the radio announcer who speaks the Queen's English. The lesson to be learned from this is that we should not stereotype people ; that people are different, regardless of race.


* The indigenous people of the Torres Strait Islands are not categorised as "Aboriginal" but as "Torres Strait Islanders" and recognised separately by the Commonwealth.

This doesn't mean that we have avoided exactly the same behavioural issues raised in themost recent posts by Richard, M.Ted and McGrath; our indigenous people suffer exactly the same insults and attitudes about 'blackness' and 'nonwhiteness', mostly from people who think the 'whiteness' of their ancestry is pure, but even from some whose ancestry includes Indigenous peoples. The term "Coconut" is, occasionally applied to someone who, in the US, might be called an "Uncle Tom"; it refers to someone who, in the opinion of the labeller, is "brown on the outside but white on the inside". At the moment, because of the hope with the change of government and the rapidity with which the PM produced the "Sorry" statement in Parliament, most people are putting most of their efforts into cooperation. Long may it be so.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 06:14 PM

Of course, ethnicity is often confounded with peer pressure to conform in certain ways..such as not "acting white." Some young people, and I know from working in many schools, are or at least were tremendously pressured to not doing well in school, acting a bit tougher than perhaps was their natural inclination...having to like certain clothes, music etc...Some of that nut has to be cracked, when it is behavior that hurts themselves, their families, their peers or society in general...and things will get better, guaranteed. Sooner or later we are all going to have to talk about this..thankfully Senator and Mrs. Obama have started to take on behavioral issues of young people, and I mean of all races. Bullying especially. I hope Mrs. Obama makes it her focus if she becomes first lady -- and goes, as she has already gone after the innocent looking girls flying under the radar who make lives miserable for other middle school and high school students. Then the president can take on the boys....this is way way more important than most people realize and directly relates to the pursuit of happiness..there have been so many incidents lately... mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 06:15 PM

In Canada, despite its dubious record in regard to both Aboriginal and African-Canadian people, there has never been (as far as I know) legal recognition of any 'blood quota' concept. As a consequence, it is very rare to hear members of either of those minorities use such terms as 'full-blooded', 'one-quarter' this, 'one-sixteenth' that, etc. The idea of measuring racial quotients seems alien if not distasteful to both groups (speaking generally, with the usual provisos, etc.).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 06:16 PM

But, and it can be a big but, if you can show connection with a cultural past surely you wish to preserve it. Isn't that what folk singers do? It may be narrow-minded of me but the wellspring of the song surely should be recognised, and the fact of it reserved.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 07:01 PM

Metis?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 07:12 PM

?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 07:14 PM

Valuing "connection with a cultural past" and seeking to preserve it is indeed one thing that folk singers do. But that isn't tied to whether you've got the right genetic make-up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 07:18 PM

if you can show connection with a cultural past surely you wish to preserve it. Isn't that what folk singers do? It may be narrow-minded of me but the wellspring of the song surely should be recognised, and the fact of it reserved.

A great aspiration.

The Australian "definition" of indigenous identity seems to be the most acceptable of the various options that were considered (and the US version was considered but rejected) and, although there have been some unpleasant episodes in Tasmania (where some who claimed "Aboriginality" were denied it by others with more influential argument), it seems to have worked well. To the extent that various rednecks, mistaken in their beliefs that Indigenous people get free perks and money, have tried to denigrate (there's that language problem again) the whole concept. The Australian concept of identification seems to allow more people to celebrate such cultural connections more easily than the agricultural concept.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 07:33 PM

Yes. Certainly among Aboriginal Canadians, in my experience, 'cultural past' is the only factor of significance in this business; genetic make-up is inconsequential. If you're a white person adopted by a Native family, and so brought up a Native culturally, then you will be considered Native, for all intents and purposes.

Speaking broadly, generally, acknowledging that there are no doubt exceptions, etc.

Btw, this kind of thing is part of the story of such 'imposters' as 'Grey Owl' and 'Long Lance' - if they wanted to try to learn to be Indians, the Indians didn't mind, and didn't see any great need to expose them ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 03:29 AM

Fumblefingers! I meant "preserved".

But I do think that the relationship to a folk song, in a folksong singer, goes deeper than simply how that person was brought up, or which society (s)he now inhabits. That's the whole thing about "roots". If that is not so then it may be inferred that it is also so for other cultural historical matters, then the whole process of roots discovery for African-Americans is unfounded.

I tend to think that the process for African-Americans to discover and link to their roots, and take pride in their lineage and cultural history, is a good thing (but isn't it odd how people who say they are reincarnated have only ever been rich or famous in their previous lives?). But if (as I think is right) we reject the falsity of those who wake up in Wigan one morning and suddenly decide to be an Indian chief, then we must say the same about those who wake up one morning in Salford and suddenly decide to be Scottish.

The cultural past that one has includes the cultural past of ones forbears, it seems to me, and nature cannot be wholly supplanted by nurture although it may be influenced.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 07:27 AM

Linear decent can focus our interests, so that we can seek out connections and build on them, but the only connections aren't to do with descent, and we shouldn't allow that kind of thing to limit our horizons, or try to do the same to other people.

And what right have we to "reject the falsity" of people who choose to adopt a culture to which they were not born?   People living within that culture might have that right, but they might just as soon see that decision as something to welcome.

The same goes for children of immigrant families, whether from Scotland or Sierra Leone, who either choose to hold on to aspects of their heritage, or adopt the culture of their country of birth (or indeed some other culture).

Plus of course most people have quite a range of cultures among their forebears. They may choose to select one particular one, they mat choose to mix and match.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 09:41 AM

Linear indecent focusses mine!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 06:38 PM

Pardon my malapropism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 06:40 PM

"Pardon my malapropism."

Sure. No reason a guy can't wear glasses and sit naked at the computer while he drinks hot coffee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 06:59 PM

Here's an excerpt from an online article entitled "Seeing More Than Black & White (Latinos, racism, and the cultural divides)"
Compiled by: Glenn Welker

http://www.indigenouspeople.net/blackwht.htm

"...In a society as thoroughly and violently racialized as the United States, white-Black relations have defined racism for centuries. Today the composition and culture of the U.S. are changing rapidly. We need to consider seriously whether we can afford to maintain an exclusively white/Black model of racism when the population will be 32 percent Latino, Asian/Pacific American and Native American - in short, neither Black nor white - by the year 2050. We are challenged to recognize that multi-colored racism is mushrooming, and then strategize how to resist it. We are challenged to move beyond a dualism comprised of two white supremacist inventions: Blackness and Whiteness.

At stake in those challenges is building a united anti-racist force strong enough to resist contemporary racist strategies of divide-and-conquer. Strong enough, in the long run, to help defeat racism itself. Doesn't an exclusively Black/white model of racism discourage the perception of common interests among people of color and thus impede a solidarity that can challenge white supremacy? Doesn't it encourage the isolation of African Americans from potential allies? Doesn't it advise all people of color to spend too much energy understanding our lives in relation to Whiteness, and thus freeze us in a defensive, often self- destructive mode? ...

For a Latina to talk about recognizing the multi-colored varieties of racism is not, and should not be, yet another round in the Oppression Olympics. We don't need more competition among different social groupings for that "Most Oppressed" gold. We don't need more comparisons of suffering between women and Blacks, the disabled and the gay, Latino teenagers and white seniors, or whatever. We don't need more surveys like the recent much publicized Harris Poll showing that different peoples of color are prejudiced toward each other - a poll patently designed to demonstrate that us coloreds are no better than white folk. (The survey never asked people about positive attitudes.)

Rather, we need greater knowledge, understanding, and openness to learning about each other's histories and present needs as a basis for working together. Nothing could seem more urgent in an era when increasing impoverishment encourages a self-imposed separatism among people of color as a desperate attempt at community survival. Nothing could seem more important as we search for new social change strategies in a time of ideological confusion...

The discrimination, oppression and hatred experienced by Native Americans, Mexicans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Arab Americans are forms of racism. Speaking only of Latinos, we have seen in California and the Southwest, especially along the border, almost 150 years of relentless repression which today includes Central Americans among its targets. That history reveals hundreds of lynchings between 1847 and 1935, the use of counter-insurgency armed forces beginning with the Texas Rangers, random torture and murder by Anglo ranchers, forced labor, rape by border lawmen, and the prevailing Anglo belief that a Mexican life doesn't equal a dog's in value.

But wait. If color is so key to racial definition, as Fanon and others say, perhaps people of Mexican background experience racism less than national minority oppression because they are not dark enough as a group. For White America, shades of skin color are crucial to defining worth. The influence of those shades has also been internalized by communities of color. Many Latinos can and often want to pass for whites; therefore White America may see them as less threatening than darker sisters and brothers.

Here we confront more of the complexity around us today, with questions like: What about the usually poor, very dark Mexican or Central American of strong Indian or African heritage? (Yes, folks, 200-300,000 Africans were brought to Mexico as slaves, which is far, far more than the Spaniards who came.) And what about the effects of accented speech or foreign name, characteristics that may instantly subvert "passing?"

What about those cases where a Mexican-American is never accepted, no matter how light-skinned, well-dressed or well-spoken? A Chicano lawyer friend coming home from a professional conference in suit, tie and briefcase found himself on a bus near San Diego that was suddenly stopped by the Border Patrol. An agent came on board and made a beeline through the all-white rows of passengers direct to my friend. "Your papers." The agent didn't believe Jose was coming from a U.S. conference and took him off the bus to await proof. Jose was lucky; too many Chicanos and Mexicans end up killed.

In a land where the national identity is white, having the "wrong" nationality becomes grounds for racist abuse. Who would draw a sharp line between today's national minority oppression in the form of immigrant- bashing, and racism?

None of this aims to equate the African American and Latino experiences; that isn't necessary even if it were accurate. Many reasons exist for the persistence of the white/Black paradigm of racism; they include numbers, history, and the psychology of whiteness. In particular they include centuries of slave revolts, a Civil War, and an ongoing resistance to racism that cracked this society wide open while the world watched. Nor has the misery imposed on Black people lessened in recent years. New thinking about racism can and should keep this experience at the center."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 07:07 PM

Correction:

"Seeing More Than Black & White (Latinos, racism, and the cultural divides)" was written by Elizabeth Martinez.

There's no indication on that page as to when Ms. Martinez wrote that article. However, there's a notation that the page was last updated 06/08/2004.

The hyperlink for that article contains a hyperlink for Indigenous Peoples' Literature compiled by Glenn Welker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Janie
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 08:11 PM

Don't know this is the absolute best thread to post this to, but seems cogent to at least some of the discussions that have occurred here.

From Newsweek Magazine, March 3, 2008.

"How Your Brain Looks at Race"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 10:42 PM

I've been meaning to give credit to the longish title of the 1975 play for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf for being the inspiration for the title that I wanted to use for this thread. That title, which was mentioned in my first post to this thread, is Why I Think Being An Active Poster On Mudcat Is Emotionally Difficult for Me And May Also Be Emotionally Difficult For Other Black People And Other People Of Color Who Have Publicly Acknowledged Their Racial And/Or Ethnic Identity At One Time Or More Than One Time While Posting On This Forum. I didn't set out to pattern the title for this thread after the title of that play. It just happened. But I let it happen because from the onset I wanted there to be some element of appropriate lightheartedness in my approach {and I was hoping} others' approach to this very serious subject. And there have been some lighthearted moments in this discussion, though it's to be expected that the more serious comments would outnumber the lighthearted {should I say "witty"?} ones.

Since I've introduced that play, let me take this opportunity to provide some information about it:

"for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf" is an Obie winning play which was written by the African American female playwright Ntozake Shange. here is the wikepedia article about that play. Here's an excerpt of that article:

"Structurally, For Colored Girls is a series of twenty poems — referred to as a "choreopoem" — performed through a cast of nameless women, each known only by a color: Lady in Yellow, Lady in Purple, and so forth. The poems deal with love, abandonment, rape, and abortion. The performances of the nine actresses are equally focused on their specific stories; e.g., Lady in Blue's visceral account of a woman who chooses to abort her baby; Lady in Red's horrifying tale of domestic abuse. The performances are sharp and bone-chilling. Shange's own name means "she who walks like a lion" in isiXhosa, and her writing doesn't pull any punches when it comes to these hard-hitting issues. Her dealings with the hardships of physical and emotional abuse, the strength of unity, and the tragedy of loss have a focus and passion that has made the play and its incarnations last a generation".

-snip-

Also, here's an excerpt of that play from another online source, http://www.enotes.com/for-colored :

"for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf is a choreopoem, a poem (really a series of 20 separate poems) choreographed to music. Although a printed text cannot convey the full impact of a performance of for colored girls..., Shange's stage directions provide a sense of the interrelationships among the performers and of their gestures and dance movements.

The play begins and ends with the lady in brown. The other six performers represent the colors of the rainbow: the ladies in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The various repercussions of "bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical dilemma" are explored through the words, gestures, dance, and music of the seven ladies, who improvise as they shift in and out of different roles. In the 1970s, when Ntozake Shange herself performed in for colored girls..., she continually revised and refined the poems and the movements in her search to express a female black identity. Improvisation is central to her celebration of the uniqueness of the black female body and language, and it participates in the play's theme of movement as a means to combat the stasis of the subjugation. In studying this play in its textual, static format one should, therefore, keep in mind the improvisational character of actual performance and realize that stasis is the opposite of what Shange wanted for this play. In fact, in her preface she announces to readers that while they listen, she herself is already "on the other side of the rainbow" with "other work to do." She has moved on, as she expects her readers to do as well".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 02:45 AM

two points

songs about the highland clearances have plenty of relevance for many black people. many jacobites were transported as slaves - that's why so many West Indian families have highland names.

lots of violence and mayhem in folksongs, and gangsta rap - so it seems. Violence has always been seen as an interesting subject for a song. its perhaps a way we can confront and address our concerns.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 04:28 AM

I am not in a position to speak from personal experience but a university friend of mine, Ajit Deshpande, visited the USA in the late 60s and told me when he came back that he did not receive the racist treatment that I had expected he would. He said he thought the reason was that although he had brown skin and dark eyes (he was from the Indian continent) his facial features were sharp. His impression was that the vast preponderance of racial prejudice in the USA was directed to those with what we would then have called "negroid features". I am sorry to say I don't know if there is a currently acceptable term for "negroid features".

I realise that this is purely anecdotal, and I also realise that native Americans and South Americans and Asiatics and others are today discriminated against in the USA and elsewhere, but I suspect that what Aj saw may not wholly have vanished.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 05:52 AM

Caveat: I haven't read all of the 300+ postings on this thread. I read the first 50 or so, then whipped down through them, stopping every now and again.

But what I found was that several people did something which is - if you'll excuse me using strong language - outrageous.

They said: "What you experience is not reality".

Azizi, thanks for saying what you're experiencing. I grew up in a racist society, and still notice people's race much more than is relevant. Though less so, considerably less so, now that black people are living in Ireland in increasing numbers.

But it still blindsides me at times. Last week I was in London and wandered curiously into a Quaker Meeting House and sat in the hallway, watching through the glass window in the door of the main room as mothers and teachers played a learning game with toddlers.

I was astonished to see that two of the teachers were dark-skinned - from a Pakistani or Caribbean background, probably. (And the fact that I'd think about that, where I wouldn't bother about the background of someone identifiably 'white', shows that I'm still regarding dark-skinned people as 'other'.)

Black Quakers? What?? Then I started laughing to myself at the stupidity of what I was thinking.

Anyway, I'm wandering. Yes, Mudcat does seem rather bleached, now that you mention it. What about dragging all your black musical friends in and getting them to drag theirs in? The Cat could do with some variety of knowledge and experience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 06:51 AM

I think I have just discovered what has bugged me about this thread from the start.

It's the title!

Azizi said she wanted a longer and more explanatory title but due to space restrictions she settled for " Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color" that is a statement, and as such, it is at least impossible to prove, if not totally incorrect.

I think Azizi wanted to point out that she has encountered difficulties, and wondered if others of colour [if any] found similar problems.

On that basis I would like to see the title changed to "Is Mudcat difficult for people of colo(u)r?" , This would change it from a statement to a question, and in view of most subsequent posts, fit the thread better.

I also wonder what question one would have to put in a search engine to discover this thread, and I don't think it wouldn't be a folkie person asking it.

Anyway, just a thought in passing, as whatever it's called, it's a thought provoking thread.

Giok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 09:54 AM

IMHO, a number of the postings here would tend to support the OP's statement and indeed later explanations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 09:57 AM

So it's difficult for ALL people of colour Richard?
That's what the title seems to suggest to me, and I can't see how that case can be made. Indeed I hope/believe, that it's not true.

G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 10:31 AM

I can see how some of the postings here would be likely to make the community seem unwelcoming to very many people of colour. Some people have a hide like a rhinoceros and are oblivious to any lack of welcome. You only have to read this thread to see. One of my own, due to lack of care in my wording, could have seemed to belittle the historical suffering of many African-Americans.

Walk a mile (etc).

Put it another way round. If this community is equally welcoming, why are so few African Americans, native Americans, Africans, West Indians, Asians, Orientals, indigenous Australasians, etc, posting here (or known to be posting here)? Can it simply be that our music is largely Anglocentric and that that is no attraction? If that were so, should we not see an increase in the number of non-anglos posting in BS, particualrly given the importance of race and gender issues in the Democratic primaries?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 10:48 AM

How many of those Mudcatters who are white anglo-centric, patronise web sites which cater for black music and culture, or Bhangra sites.
Who like myself loves Portuguese fado music and finds anything much about it on here?
Surely there must be an element of 'horses for courses' in a site like this, which is in itself catering for a minority.

Giok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Mar 08 - 12:04 PM

"Who like myself loves Portuguese fado music and finds anything much about it on here?"

Why don't you give it a go?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 12:07 PM

Various comments:

John 'Giok' MacKenzie, in your 08 Mar 08 - 06:51 AM you suggested changing the title of this thread to the question "Is Mudcat Difficult For People Of Color?" While I appreciate the suggestion, that title doesn't confer my basis for starting this thread-that is-my certainty that sometimes posting on this forum, and reading certain Mudcat threads is in fact difficult for me.
That means that
1. sometimes posting on Mudcat and/or reading Mudcat threads is not difficult for me

2. the difficulty may be sometimes because of my mis-interpretations and/or oversensitivity to certain topics by virtue of my racial background, my experiences, and/or my temperment

3. other people of color who are Mudcat members or guests may have less difficulty or no difficulties what so ever with posting on Mudcat or reading certain Mudcat threads

4. Mudcat threads which cause me difficulty may cause another person of color less difficulty than they cause me, or may not cause them any difficulty.

**

John 'Giok' MacKenzie, in that same 08 Mar 08 - 06:51 AM post you commented that "I also wonder what question one would have to put in a search engine to discover this thread, and I don't think it wouldn't be a folkie person asking it."

It seems to me that it would be helpful to have a "related threads" hyperlink listing for race/racism Mudcat threads just as there are related thread listings under the thread title of numerous other Mudcat threads. Because I think that such listings help folks access archived threads, I'll volunteer to identify some past Mudcat threads on race/racism and I'll provide hyperlinks to those individual threads within this thread.

**
With regard to the question, why aren't there more people of color {colour} posting on Mudcat, Richard Bridge asked "Can it simply be that our music is largely Anglocentric and that that is no attraction? If that were so, should we not see an increase in the number of non-anglos posting in BS, particualrly given the importance of race and gender issues in the Democratic primaries?"

Richard, one of the things that I've discovered about Mudcat is that it is what you make it. Because of the liberal definition of "folk music" and "folk culture" and because of Mudcat's easy to use, open posting structure, members and guests can start above the line threads and BS threads on almost any subject they want to. Therefore, the only reason why Mudcat remains anglocentric is because people who post here don't start threads on non-anglocentric music* and non-Anglo people {who one would presume would be more likely to start threads on non-anglocentric music-aren't aware of this forum, or choose not to post to this forum.

*John 'Giok' MacKenzie asked "Who like myself loves Portuguese fado music and finds anything much about it on here?" I don't know anything about Portuguese fado music. My assumption is that because it is in Portugal, and Portugal is a country in Europe, fado music would be considered "anglocentric music". But perhaps not. In any event, I agree with McGrath of Harlow's question to Giok
"Why don't you give it a go?"

And that question isn't rhetorical. In my opinion, some Mudcat threads are for the purpose of conversation/discussion and others are for the purpose of presenting information. Of couse, many threads are both}. Mudcat presents opportunities for sharing and learning.If there is a topic that most people don't know about, that doesn't mean that thread shouldn't be started. But it does mean that the original thread starter might be the only one posting to that thread. Just because only one person {or just a few people} post to a thread, doesn't mean that no one else is reading that thread or no one else will read that thread in the future.

As to why people of color may not post to BS threads-about race/racism and a host of other subjects, one reason why people post online is for the purpose of relaxation/enjoyment. If {When} a person perceives herself or himself to be "the only one" {of their race/ethnicity} posting on a forum, because of the attendent difficulties/challenges that may occur as a result of being a minority in that community {which we have discussed in this thread}, that person may not take advantage of the opportunity to "hang out" and post on that forum. Instead, that person may decide to spend their leisure time off-line, or on other forums which are more integrated or where mostly {or only} people of her or his race/ethnicity post.

As to JTT's comment "What about dragging all your black musical friends in and getting them to drag theirs in?", I take it that that comment was meant for all those posting on Mudcat who have friends who are Black {and other people of color}, whether they be musical {or non-musical}. I've tried to encourage people to visit and post on Mudcat. Not counting Quarcoo who has joined Mudcat but who regrettably I've only met online, I've not been successful in getting people I know to not only visit this website, but to continue coming to Mudcat and to post on this forum. However, I'm gonna continue trying to get more people of color to post on Mudcat. And I hope that other Mudcat members and guests will do so too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM

Here is a link to a bunch of YouTube vids about fado.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 01:59 PM

I have compiled a list of mostly BS Mudcat threads about race/racism/ethnicity and/or anti-semitism. This listing was compiled using the listing of threads that I posted to since I joined Mudcat in September 2004. As such it does not include any threads prior to that date unless those threads were revived since then and I posted to them. It's important to emphasize that this may not be {probably isn't} a complete listing of Mudcat threads after 9/2004. However, as you will see, this list is looong.
And because it is much longer than I remembered, because of time constraints, I have to take back my statement that I will include hyperlinks to these threads. However, if a moderator wants me to create hyperlinks for the threads on this list, with the intent of putting some or all of them on one or more related thread list, I will do so as a project, and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis.

That said, in my next two posts to this thread, I'll provide URLs to the threads that I found. Needless to say, others are welcome to add any threads that I've missed to this listing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:04 PM

Mudcat threads about race/racism/ethnicity and/or anti-semitism {Part I} Sept 2004-March 9, 2008

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14506
Yellow Gal

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=107884
BS: In Memory: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=106076
BS: Lewis Hamilton - black?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=105650
BS: 'Poor Whites' in the Southern States

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=105580
BS: Racism of top scientist?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=104934
BS: The Jena 6 Controversy

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=104152
RE: Strange Fruit

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=101762
BS: Does Being Dark Matter?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=102927
BS: Education, Race 'n Community...

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=103280
Tintin In The Congo

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=103194
BS: USA 'Browning' -- Ethnic Diversity

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=102703
BS: Great White Father knows best...? (Australia)

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=101955
BS: Australian Aborgines=Special Day

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=101934
Folklore: 1967 Aboriginal Referendum (Aus)

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=100865
BS: 'cleaning lady' as insult

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=100788
BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=98442
BS: The term Afro American?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=100632
BS: Where has all the hostility gone ?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=99746
BS: Poverty in the USA

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=99545
BS: Cherokee Vote on Freedmen

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=98660
Subject: BS: Is this Racism?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=87981
Folklore: Padstow 'Darkie Days'

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=25776
Advice Please? - use of offensive words in songs [has a listing of related threads]

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=95037
BS: Growing up in post-holocaust Germany

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=96848
Looking for songs against racism


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Megan L
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:05 PM

Well if we got rid of the coos sharn and actaully talked FOLK music or blues we might no hiv tae pit up wie sic ravlins.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:08 PM

Mudcat threads about race/racism/ethnicity and/or anti-semitism {Part II} Sept 2004-March 9, 2008


http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=96547
BS: Kramer's Racist Rant

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=93977
Black people at folk clubs

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=93902
BS: Arguments against racial profiling

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=92446
BS: Apologies over slave trade?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=91580
BS: Using the N-word.

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=91497
Folklore: Adopting Alien Traditions

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=88950
BS: Responses To Racism

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=88402
BS: Mudcat Anti-semitism

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=86490&messages=258&page=1
BS: Racial No-nos

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=84217
BS: Black looters, white finders [this is a Hurricane Katrina/Hurricane Rita thread; there is a related thread listing of threads about hurricanes/relief work during hurricanes]

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=84239
Outraged over Bush! (Hurricane Katrina)

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=83573
BS: Multiculturalism

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=56348
How to End Racism

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81834
BS: Tolerance and the Intolerant

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81583
BS: From Britain With Bigotry

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=80223
Subject: BS: Bobert's Race Thread

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=80063
RE: BS: A shocking tale of blatant racism

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=79324
BS: A discussion - What is antisemitism? .

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=79107
BS: What means bigot?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=79055
BS: our increasing racist government

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=78495
RE: BS: What Makes Condi Lie???...

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=78863
BS: Affirmative Action?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=77817
BS: What did Jesus look like?

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=77610
BS: Cross cultural marriages

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=76375
BS: Mummers and Racism


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Megan L
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:12 PM

Weel hen if ye wanted fowk tae plough through thon rants ye might at least hae taken the bother tae mak them intae clickies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:15 PM

Megan L, I'm sorry, but I don't understand some of the words that you used in your 09 Mar 08 - 02:05 PM post. Would you rewrite it or provide the meanings for the words/phrases "coos sharn" and "hiv tae pit up wie sic ravlins" Does this mean "have to put up with such rambling?".

**

In light of what I think Megan's comment means, let me repost to comments that I wrote to two of the threads that I included in those list:

Subject: RE: BS: Affirmative Action?
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 04:30 AM

The subject of racism HAS come up a lot lately month here at Mudcat...Why???

Who knows..Maybe it's some cluster effect that has happened before with other subjects. Anyway, I suppose a cluster of subjects has probably happened here before. This is my 7th month on Mudcat so I can't point to any examples, but I would imagine some long time members could.

And I'm not even going to mention the names of those thread on race and racism that have happened so close together within actually what seems like the last two weeks..One of which is still going strong..

Not to mention that in the last month or so there has also been politics, Blues, and Bob Marley threads that refer {referred} to race if not racism. [There was a vicious troll on a Bob Marley on the radio thread that Brucie conquered so admirably-Thanks again, Brucie!]

And Dianavan, I so very much appeciated your posts on that infamous thread about that woman whose name I will not even mention. I thank you!

Of course, just because those threads are there doesn't mean that I have to participate in the discussions-except for threads like
"What books should I read next?' & and 'Feelin the Blues' threads which I started..Both of which mention African Americans..

But I could have 'played pass' those other threads- Free will and all that...I chose to comment.

And you're right, Dianavan-I AM interested in other topics. It was actually children's rhymes that brought me to this folk community, but my special area of interest is African American rhymes..Hmmn-that subject deals with race...

I'd prefer to discuss that or other things such as secular slave songs and culture -OOPS! You have to talk about race with that subject, too..

Well, I'd readily post on a thread that discussed astrology, or reincarnation, or psychic phenomenon, or dream interpretation, or science fiction books, or the history and cultural meanings of social dances in North America, South America, and the Caribbean- OOPS! that last subject would involve race and probably racism too...

I'm also interested in the subject of adoption. At one time I worked in that field and, among other things, I facilitated workshops that provided opportunities for transracial adoptive parents to discuss the impact of race & racism on parenting non-White children.. OOPS! there's those two 'R' words again...

Okay-I'd love it if there was a Mudcat thread on the subject of etymology, particularly slang, or the origins & meanings of names, or sound preferences among African Americans -OOPS! I'm back to issues of race..

Well I did post to the spatula thread..there was no mention of race there..

Did I mention spatulas? Is that craze still going on??!

Inquiring minds want to know..

Even if I don't post to BS threads like that they provide a break from serious heavy duty matters..the pause that refreshes so energy is renewed to do what ya gotta do or want to do on a more serious tip...

So thanks to all those witty, creative, [wacked out??!] 'Catters who keep making up those type of BS threads!

You create them-I'll at least lurk.

Peace!

**

Subject: RE: BS: What means bigot?
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 11:29 AM

Even arm chair travel like we are doing at Mudcat-meeting new people and exchanging cultural information and opinions-helps to counteract the "prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" that is so pervasive in our societies.

Another good reason to continuing visiting Mudcat!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:19 PM

Azizi I'm sorry, but this is beginning to look more like a crusade than anything else. I REALLY can't see what good it will do rehashing old threads.

Giok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 02:37 PM

Giok,

Threads on other topics have a "related thread" list. I believe that it would be helpful for those persons who want to read {or post to} archived threads on the subject of race, racism, anti-semitism and related topics to have a hyperlinked listing-or at least a listing such as the one that I provided sans hyperlinks. It's an individual choice if a person wants to visit or "rehase" one or more of these old threads.

I'm certainly not interesting in "rehasing". But I am interested in making those threads more accessible, and in reading those threads, and in learning from those threads.

Throughout this thread, and by way of those 2005 reposted comments of mine I've indicated why I think it's important to read and learn from these types of threads. Of course, I don't expect everyone to agree with me about this or about anything.

Different strokes for different folks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 03:07 PM

Yes. There's no reason for those who are not interested to take an interest ... If you think this or any other thread is a waste of time, then don't waste your time on it ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 03:11 PM

Giok, that is outrageous. Have you no idea of the overtones of the word "crusade"?

Megan may be making a point in a subtle way that we see little posting specifically on or in Scottish dialects.   Or she may not.

And Azizi answers (I wonder why no-one else did) my question about the difference between above the line and BS. Although the above the line may be focussed specifically on unappetizing topics for African-Americans (anglocentric music being irrelevant to them and blues being an unpleasant reminder), they might post below the line but find constantly being challenged, sometimes in unpleasant or at least thoughtless terms. Hence the Mudcat is indeed difficult for people of colour. Why do so few of the white posters here acknowledge botht hat and the logic of that?

I wonder, however, if I may suggest that there is a distinction between colour prejudice and antisemitism. It is this. Today we can see that African-Americans and the black communities in England both suffer from relatively low achievement, as contemporary defnitions of "success" go. I don't know if there are figures showing the position for the relative success of Jews in the USA or England, but my guess would be that the figures will not be the same.   Hence we see I think no shortage of both observant and non-observant Jews ready to identify themselves as such - although we see few discussions of specifically Jewish music forms (some on Klezmer, but not all that many).   So for this purpose semitic people will not feel the same reaction as "people of colour". Also, before some smartass with a spectrometer says it, it's not about colour as such for semitic people.

It will take more than a few courageous souls like Azizi before we have a forum that treats the African-Americans here and/or the black communities from Englad in the same way as the "Anglos" (which includes "Euros" for this purpose). We owe you Azizi a vote of thanks, not the carping you get. There will be time to develop a lightness of touch when the wall has fallen. More power to your elbow.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 04:18 PM

Richard you can take it to mean whatever you want to, I know what I meant, and I will not have my words twisted to suit a different agenda.
Perhaps you might like to argue your semantic point with Billy Graham !

G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: meself
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 04:29 PM

I suspect that the reason that we do not apparently have many people of colour on this forum, either above or below the line, is because not very many people of colour are interested in 'folk music', at least in the Anglo- and African-American-based 'folk music' the discussion of which dominates the musical part of the forum. A person who is interested in some form of African folk music, as an example, may well stumble onto this forum, take a quick glance through the thread titles, and then move on to another forum in which there may be more people who share that interest.

Bear in mind that it is a minority of white people who have any real interest in 'folk music', and of them, a tiny minority who hang around here ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Megan L
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 04:34 PM

Mesel :) I hiv never bin tiny in onything except hieght.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 04:42 PM

The absence of threads here about most forms of folk music is a consequence of the fact that people with particular interest or expertise in them don't post here, because there aren't threads about the types of folk music which interest them and in which they have some expertise. And if someone starts a thread trying to find out about one of these multifarious varieties of folk music, there won't be anyone to respond with useful information.

That is a tricky vicious circle to break out of. A pity. Myself, I'm interested in folk music right across the board, not just the kinds we tend to concentrate on here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 04:47 PM

Thanks for the links earlier Kevin, I adore Mariza, and have lots of her stuff on CD.
G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Thompson
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 04:47 PM

I suspect that Mesel is correct in thinking that few people of colour are interested in (white) folk music.

But that doesn't address Azizi's original point, which is (if I'm re-stating it correctly - if not, please correct me) that it's uncomfortable at times to read Mudcat's forums, because there are times when you slam face-first into a totally unexpected racism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 06:21 PM

Thompson, I agree with what you wrote that "there are times when you slam face-first into a totally unexpected racism", though the word "racism" is probably too strong in most instances. Maybe it's an insider/outsider thing with the person who is different being on the outside and trying to explain herself or himself or her or his culture to those who think they understand, or don't understand, but who are interested in understanding, and/or people who don't understand and couldn't care less about understanding...It's all of that and more. What is most difficult for me is when I'm reading a thread that isn't about race and these [what I consider to be]misunderstandings occur. At least on "race/racism" threads you know that you are going to have to try to explain yourself. But it's sometimes like trying to explain things in one language to people who don't speak your language...

And the other point I was trying to make is that if there were other Black people or other people of color who participated in these threads I wouldn't have to do all the talking and explaining...

But I chose to start this thread and I chose to post on other threads about race and racism and I chosen to post on most other Mudcat threads when the topic of race came up. No one forced me to do so. I did so because I wanted to and because I needed to address the issue/s. And I must say that it has been a relief for me to know that there are Mudcat members and guests who do understand and there are Mudcat members and guests who do who want to understand more, just as I do want to understand more about myself, my culture, and other people's cultures.

When I started this thread, I wasn't sure if anyone else would post to it. I thought that it might be me venting and others would think, okay there she goes again. Glad she got that out of her system {again}. But instead, other people did post and here we are...I'm not interested in repeating myself on this thread. I've said what I wanted to say and I've read what others have said and I've listed some archived threads on this subject. And as far as I'm concerned, at this point in time, my time on Mudcat and off of Mudcat can be better spent on other threads-or not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 08:04 PM

"And the other point I was trying to make is that if there were other Black people or other people of color who participated in these threads I wouldn't have to do all the talking and explaining..."

Not sure about this.

I think you'd end up talking and explaining your perspective to them as much as to the rest of us because that's the way you are. You like sharing ideas and engaging in intelligent honest discourse.

And it's a good thing.

You'll take every idea in this thread and you'll think about it and give it respectful consideration and test your own perspective and see whether there is something to be learned and you'll develop and continue looking for a better understanding and for a better more concise and comprehensive way of expressing the fundamental tenets of how you feel and what you understand.

And I honestly think that the reason why isn't because you are in a significant minority racially, but because you like to take responsibility for these issues - in turn, because you, on the one hand feel strongly about them and on the other because you have spent many years developing your understanding of them.

I reckon if you were on a mainly black forum you would feel the urge to represent "white interests" (for want of a better term) as you would feel, having shared so much here, that you had a pretty good understandng of the variety of white viewpoints and because you're a pretty fair person.

I think this thread for you is about a personal odessey. For the rest of us it is just a bit more mudcat gold.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Mar 08 - 09:20 PM

Well, I had a bit of time off so, taking responsibility for whether they do or don't work, here are the links to
Mudcat threads referencing race/racism/ethnicity and/or anti-semitism Sept 2004-March 9, 2008; from Azizi, with additions.

Yellow Gal
BS: In Memory: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
BS: Lewis Hamilton - black?
BS: 'Poor Whites' in the Southern States
BS: Racism of top scientist?
BS: The Jena 6 Controversy
RE: Strange Fruit
BS: Does Being Dark Matter?
BS: Education, Race 'n Community...
Tintin In The Congo
BS: USA 'Browning' -- Ethnic Diversity
BS: Great White Father knows best...? (Australia)
BS: Australian Aborgines=Special Day
Folklore: 1967 Aboriginal Referendum (Aus)
BS: At last! 'Sorry!'
BS: 'cleaning lady' as insult
BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
BS: The term Afro American?
BS: Where has all the hostility gone ?
BS: Poverty in the USA
BS: Cherokee Vote on Freedmen
BS: Is this Racism?
Folklore: Padstow 'Darkie Days'
Advice Please? - use of offensive words in songs [has a listing of related threads]
BS: Growing up in post-holocaust Germany
Looking for songs against racism
BS: Kramer's Racist Rant
Black people at folk clubs
BS: Arguments against racial profiling
BS: Apologies over slave trade?
BS: Using the N-word.
Folklore: Adopting Alien Traditions
BS: Responses To Racism
BS: Mudcat Anti-semitism
BS: Racial No-nos
BS: Black looters, white finders [this is a Hurricane Katrina/Hurricane Rita thread; there is a related thread listing of threads about hurricanes/relief work during hurricanes]
Outraged over Bush! (Hurricane Katrina)
BS: Multiculturalism
How to End Racism
BS: Tolerance and the Intolerant
BS: From Britain With Bigotry
BS: Bobert's Race Thread
BS: A shocking tale of blatant racism
BS: A discussion - What is antisemitism?
BS: What means bigot?
BS: our increasing racist government
BS: What Makes Condi Lie???...
BS: Affirmative Action?
BS: What did Jesus look like?
BS: Cross cultural marriages
BS: Mummers and Racism

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 09:47 AM

Rowan, thanks for those links and those additions.

**

I believe there will come a time when a person's race and ethnicity are considered to be nothing but valueless descriptors. When that time comes, people will look back on these centuries and wonder why their ancestors were so misguided.

Keep on keepin on!

Best wishes,

Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Peace
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 11:09 AM

One of the things I love about Mudcat is that it IS a site that can examine itself and reach conclusions, not all of which are comfortable.

Great thread, Azizi.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 01:59 PM

I'd distinguish between "race" and ethnicity" - "race" is a pseudo-scientific nonsense, and the sooner it gets dumped the better.

"Ethnicity" is much more interesting, and does relate to genuine variants in the way people choose to live, and in principle it has nothing to do with "race", except where a culture that is obsessed with "race" as a way of categorising people forcibly confuses the two.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM

"race" is a pseudo-scientific nonsense

"Race" as a biological concept applied to variants of plant species may once have had some value but, applied to humans, is nonsensical except as an indicator of paranoia and intention to apply power; the cross-fertilisation between these two applications has diminished what little value it may have had for biologists.

"Ethnicity" is much more interesting, and does relate to genuine variants in the way people choose to live

The crux of this statement is the use of "choose".

Anthropologists going (usually from urban societies dominated by "whites") to study the inhabitants (mostly not "whites") of societies (mostly nonurban) may have justifiably applied the phrase "genuine variants in the way people choose to live" in an historic sense and there has been considerable scholarly discourse on the very topic, usually contrasted with aspects of "determinism".

But, in our western, Anglo- or Euro-centred societies, constructs of ethnicity are often applied to individuals from outside their groups rather than actively chosen by them. The outwash of the Cronulla riots in Oz include the notion that a "real Australian" (one who mindlessly chants "Ozzie!" thrice followed by "Oy!", also thrice) has no visual attributes that would betray any ancestry from outside a territory bounded by the Atlantic on the west, the Urals on the east (although some of those Georgians are a bit suss), the bits of Scandinavia (without the Lapps) in the North and the Alps and Pyrenees in the south and even the Catalans are a bit dodgy. The "real Australians" attibute foreign ethnicity to anyone else (Indigenous peoples confuse their tiny minds) and tell them to "Go home!" when their targets may have mnore generations of ancestry in Australia than the shouters.

When the targets "choose" a particular ethnicity as a result of such treatment it's usually as a form of negative reaction for protective purposes rather than a positive acclamation of multiculturalism.

Not long ago I listened to a radio interview of a Birmingham (UK) lawyer; the context was the effect of slavery in her ancestry on her ability to identify with any particular culture or ethnicity. Her parents had come from one of the British Caribbean colonies/dependencies but she herself was born in the UK; her public identity was one foisted on her by those around her in the UK. When she went to the particular Caribbean locality where her parents had come from, the locals regarded her as a foreigner on the basis of her accent and assigned her an identity and ethnicity that had very little to do with them. When she visited the part of Africa from which her ancestors had been enslaved, originally,, the locals there also regarded her as a foreigner on the basis of both her coloour and her accent and assigned her an identity and ethnicity that had absolutely nothing to do with them; moreover, she was identified with 'western oppressors'.

So, while I think McGrath's got the right idea, there are "fish hooks" all through almost every line of exploration of the discussion. Which is not an argument for cessation, just one for care. And I know there are 'catters who could have said it much more succinctly.

End of rave!

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 06:21 PM

That was why I concluded that sentence by writing "except where a culture that is obsessed with "race" as a way of categorising people forcibly confuses the two."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Is Difficult For People Of Color
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 06:30 PM

"Fish hooks" as Rowan calls them, is why I have decided I will post no more in this thread.

G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
 


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.



Mudcat time: 13 November 5:29 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.