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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
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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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)


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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).


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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]


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.)


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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?


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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.


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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]


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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.


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

?


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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.


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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**


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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.


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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


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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


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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!)


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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...


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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.


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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 ¦¬]


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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


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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...


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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


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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.


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

Beautiful post, Bee.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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