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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"A Conversation About Race"

"A Conversation About Race" is an hour long documentary by Craig Bodeker which seeks to highlight the vacuousness of the concept (and accusation) of "racism" in America. In Bodeker's words, "I can't think of another issue that is more artificial, manufactured or manipulated than this whole construct called racism."

"A Conversation About Race" can be seen in six parts on YouTube:
A Conversation About Race 1/6
A Conversation About Race 2/6
A Conversation About Race 3/6
A Conversation About Race 4/6
A Conversation About Race 5/6
A Conversation About Race 6/6

Here is Lawrence Auster's post on this: A documentary on the fraud of "racism"


Shackleman said...

Ilion, seriously? A assume that since you posted this you agree with the filmmaker? I wonder about you sometimes.

I'll watch the videos, as it's an important and interesting topic and because as a biracial American, it touches me personally.

However, no hour-long documentary will erase my real life experiences that suggest racism is alive and well in this country.

Exaggerated and a bit contrived at times? Admittedly yes. But non-existent? Come on, wake up.

Ilíon said...

Shackleman: "... as a biracial American, it touches me personally."

When we get you converted over to thinking properly, you'll understand that "As an 'X,' I ..." statements are (typically) logically invalid assertions of personal authority based on one's accidents. "Arguments" built on such assertions are not logical arguments, they are post-modernist assertions of power.

When a person says "As an 'X,' I ...," he is not saying "I know 'y' because I have seen 'y'," but rather is saying, "I am 'X,' *therefore* you have not the right to deny 'y' ...."

Shackleman: "Exaggerated and a bit contrived at times? Admittedly yes."

And this doesn't bother you? "Racism" is a racket: it isn't about *solving* a social problem, but rather about exacerbating it ... for fun and profit.

Shackleman: "... I wonder about you sometimes. ... as a biracial American, it touches me personally. ... no hour-long documentary will erase my real life experiences that suggest racism is alive and well in this country. ... Come on, wake up."

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a small child ... from black kids, from the (older) children I thought were my friends, who, other than my little siblings, were the only children with whom I had regular contact?

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a grade-school pupil when, as I was waiting outside their school for my little sisters, a gang of black girls knocked me down (from behind) in the snow and knocked and kicked me down again when I tried to get up?

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a grade-school pupil when a gang of black boys (mostly my age) would daily chase me and my three siblings (all younger than I) for several blocks as we walked home from school?

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as kid when some black neighbor boys set fire to our house? (How fortunate that I heard an odd noise, the breaking of the glass in a storm window, and went to investigate the noise!)

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experience as an adult in so many interactions with black persons?

Here's an example from just last week -- I had gone to the local library. I'd picked up a book and spent a couple of hours casually reading others. I noticed that I was about to "get the shakes" (i.e. my blood-sugar was dropping), so I realized it was time to get out of there and gp eat something, quickly. I thought that checking out the book would take just a few seconds, else I'd have left it behind. When I got to the desk, I learned from the clerk (a "just barely" black woman) that my library card had "expired" ... and so she was asking me all these questions to "re-register" me; what I mean is it wasn't enough to tell her that nothing had changed (I've lived at the same address for 20+ years). By now, I getting really antsy ... I was about to tell her to forget it (but I figured she'd take insult at that) ... and then she, taking personal insult anyway, asked me something like "Am I offending you?" with the implication that I am a racist offended by being held up by a black person.

This is just a mild example of the egg-shells white persons (and I'm not exactly white) have to carefully walk around in just about any interaction with a black person.

Shall I hold you responsible for that?

Or, shall I hold you responsible for the fellow employee (a black woman) who, last year when I decided to go ahead and attempt a serious conversation about the up-coming election, played all the "you people" cards?

Ilíon said...

To clarifiy: in saying "I was about to tell her to forget it (but I figured she'd take insult at that)" I meant that if she had been white (and despite that women in general are so touchy, taking insult at the drop of a hat), there is a good chance that I'd have told her that I had to go now and that I'd try to get the book another time. But, as she was black (and a woman, and a black woman), life-long experience had taught me that no way could I do such a thing.

Ilíon said...

Maybe sometime I'll tell you about the time I was on a jury trying the criminal case of a young black dude (who had two chips on his shoulders -- one a "Napolean" chip because he was a small man, and one because he was a young black man raised up to believe that The Man is out to get him no matter what).

Shackleman said...

Wow Ilion, just wow. I feel sorry for you. And my heart is heavy after reading your comments here. I'm in a bit of shock and disbelief and I can't help but to be intensely disappointed.

I feel...sad. And angry.

Ilíon said...

Shackleman: "... and I can't help but to be intensely disappointed."

As the content of your post makes no sense at all in reference to various black persons (unknown to you and mostly personally unknown to me) who have taught me first-hand about "racism," I can take this only to mean that you haven't attended to what I've said. You do that not infrequently.

Ilíon said...

Shackleman, I like you. And I'd like to consider you my friend. But, I will not trim the truth for anyone.

Shackleman said...

Well, I watched the first two segments. I can't stomach going any further with it.

I'm appalled that you would endorse this video and I'm disgusted at the presentation by the filmmaker.

I'm just stunned. That's about all I can say.

I hope you find your peace with the subject, Ilion.
I see you're online---So to your comment that I'm not attending to your reply----it isn't to be rude, it's because I'm having an emotional response to this whole thing because your theological posts (over the years) have been inspirational (even in disagreement) to me, and have had a measurable impact on my conversion. To see this thread from you now---it just saddens me and takes me aback.

If you *really* think that the bullying you personally suffered is on par with the residue left over from Slavery and Jim Crow, there's just nothing I can imagine saying that can get you to see clearly. And if you *really* think I hold you personally responsible for racism I have suffered in my life (a clear implication by the accusatory tone in your rant above) then there's nothing I can say that will get you to see that you're *clearly* stereotyping what you imgaine my thoughts on the subject would be.

If you can't see for yourself the inherit racism in that film----the fact that many if not most, of the black people he interviewed were evidently under educated, and inarticulate, and then he's extrapolating from THEM that racism is a myth, then there's nothing I can say that can get you to see clearly that his film is pure propaganda and he so blatantly and obviously stacked the deck to reach a conclusion he already holds personally. If you can't see these things yourself, Ilion, then there's no *point* in addressing your comments directly.

Shackleman said...

I like you and consider you a friend as well, which is why this is rather difficult for me. I'm oddly hurt by this on a personal level.

Shackleman said...

Now that I've had a chance to pick my jaw up from the floor, I'm better equipped to engage in a dialogue about this with you.

Let me start by saying, from the first two segments of the movie, as I've stated, it's apparent to me it's not worthy of much comment and certainly not worthy of any critical analysis. It's propaganda put on by someone who a priori believes racism is a farce and he obviously set out to find subjects that would reinforce his own assumptions, and reinforce stereotypes by cherry picking his interview subjects.

With that said, let me move on to your comments, Ilion. In it you sort of touch on four mini-subjects, each worthy of their own thread, frankly, so I'll try to focus on just one at a time.

The subjects you raise are:

-How personal experience shapes our views about race
-Reverse Racism
-Daily Interactions between whites and blacks.

I'm not going to take those in any order, and for the moment I'm going to talk briefly about just one, and hope to revisit the other subjects you raised at a later time.

But before we even get started, we need to agree on terms. What do you mean by the term "racism". To me, it's a term that is broad in scope. It's an umbrella term which encompasses many particular ideas, so it can be difficult to have a discussion about it due precisely because of its broad scope. So, when I use the word, I use it thusly: Racism is race-based discrimination, prejudice, authority, power, intimidation, and persecution.

So, "Regular Racism" is when *any* race practices racist behavior or holds racist beliefs (as I've defined it above) against another race. Reverse Racism however, is more specific, and refers to racist behavior or belief specifically held by blacks toward whites.

So does Reverse Racism exist? Of course it does. Is it horrible, shameful and something that should stop? Of course. Does its existence mean that "regular" racism *doesn't* exist? Of course not. Does being a victim of reverse racism, give a person the right to practice "regular" racism or hold regular racist beliefs? Of course not, but it's hard to blame a fellow for becoming a racist after being repeatedly victimized by racism. And no, I'm not implying you're a racist. I wouldn't know, but your thread here causes me concern along those lines.

*Some* of your anecdotes *could* be examples of reverse racism. But without further details, it's tough to say, because they could *equally* be examples of just school-aged bullying. The reason it's not clear, is while you certainly were being intimidated, and power was being exerted over you, it's not at all clear that it was racially motivated. Just because a bully is black and picks on you, doesn't necessarily mean that bully was engaging in racism toward you.

Could white kids have chased you? Sure. Could white kids have knocked you down and kicked you? Sure. Therefore, I don't know from your description that you were a victim of racism in those examples. You were certainly a victim of persecution, intimidation, and bullying, but that's about all one could say on it, based on your descriptions of those events.

And to be candid, you may have jumped to the conclusion that what happened to you was racially motivated. In which case, you're practicing prejudice yourself. Something you shouldn't be doing.

It seems just as plausible to me, that you were victimized because you were "different" or a "minority", and not specifically because you were white. I was similarly picked on, chased and bullied because I was a pussy and because I was fat. And my race had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Unless you can point to a specific indicator that your experience was a result of your race, then you are being prejudicial.

Your turn....

Shackleman said...

The next subject you brought up that I'd like to comment on is the issue of responsibility.

Your earlier post might imply a few different things. So lets look at who is responsible *today* for the state of racial tensions, specifically between whites and blacks.

In my view responsibility falls on both Blacks and Whites, and therefore resolution falls to both as well, but for me to express my current view on this requires a bit of fleshing out of the background to the problem.

Let us not underestimate the impact of 200 years of slavery and subsequent Jim Crow. While we cannot and should not dwell for too long in the past, we shouldn't dismiss the gravity of those things either. A race of people, for 200 years, were kept from receiving even the most basic levels of education that would allow them to assimilate into our society on an equal footing. No math, no reading, no history, no science. Now, granted since the late 1800's when slavery ended, opportunities for education have been mostly equalized and normalized, however slavery ended just (roughly) 140 years ago. That's not really all that long ago. So, while Whites were busily building our country, building our socioeconomic system, our infrastructure, designing and using technologies, constructing an economic system, Blacks were playing catch up. And in some parts of the country, very clear roadblocks were put in the way of them ever achieving equality.

144 years ago. That's roughly only 2 lifespans ago.

If we fast forward just a little bit into more modern times we would see that under Jim Crow, Blacks were still treated in many parts of our country as second class citizens. Let us be reminded that it was only in the 1960's when Jim Crow "officially" ended. That's within the lifetimes of readers of this BLOG. It's within my father's lifetime. It's VERY recent.

How can one quantify the impact to the psyche of Black people as a result of Jim Crow? How can one measure it? One can't, accurately, but one can imagine that the impact is severe, lasting, and painful beyond words.

My father is a special man. He raised me to not only rise above the oppressions suffered under Jim Crow, he raised me to ignore it. It was a non-factor in my life.

But is it not fair to assume that not all fathers and mothers taught their children this way? Isn't it natural for many father's and mother's who suffered DIRECTLY and PERSONALLY under Jim Crow to teach their children about those scars, to teach them to be suspicious, to teach them to be distrusting of the racial group who oppressed Blacks under Jim Crow? Is it not fair for Black people who were not *directly* oppressed under Jim Crow, to feel a sense of community about it, internalize it for themselves, and feel the pain of it in the same way that you internalized and made your own, the oppression your sisters suffered under the hands of the shoolyard bullies?

Of course that's a natural reaction. I would challenge every one of the readers of this blog to imagine what they might teach their OWN children, if they were oppressed in a similar manner.

And how long ago was this? Less than 50 years ago.

...continued below...

Shackleman said...

So where does this leave us? How long is too long for Blacks to bear the scars of Slavery and Jim Crow? How long is it fair to allow that poison to work itself out of the psyche of Black America? I don't have a specific answer to that. But I think most reasonable people *ought* to allow more than 50 years---more than one lifetime, more than a single generation, for those cancers to be cured.

Blacks *today* have a society ready to embrace them, normalize them, and equalize their opportunities (for the most part). And Blacks therefore have a responsibility to begin to heal from WITHIN our culture, and to stop living in the past and to embrace the future. Teach our children not to blame "the man", but to teach our children that there is *no* man. That our country now has the requisite systems and understandings in place to *eliminate* the very *concept* of "the man". In general terms, Blacks are failing in this responsibility in many regions of our country especially in the inner city.

Whites in particular, but not exclusively---our COUNTRY, has a responsibility to be patient, accommodating, and most certainly to STOP diminishing the impact of the oppression perpetrated against one particular race within our society. We also have a responsibility to *continue* to strive for equality in opportunity, education, and to continue to offer ****compassion**** for this subset of our society which was oppressed so *recently* and for so long. Our country, Whites, are meeting this obligation and responsibility in many areas, but are failing too as evidenced by this film you're endorsing.

Films such as this one you've posted grievously and maliciously diminish the impact of our nation's historic oppression of Blacks, fosters intolerance and impatience, is a catalyst for people to not be compassionate toward one another and for the situation, and it fuels the flames still burning within some parts of Black America.

So, should you hold me personally responsibility for the racism you've suffered in your life? No. But you should expect me to be compassionate and understanding for your anger, your hurt, and your frustration. Which I am. Do you have a responsibility to rise above it, not allow it to consume you, not to live in the past, and not to judge all blacks by the actions of a few? Yes you do. And the converse of these things equally applies to me.

Ilíon said...

I haven't yet read your posts.

(Besides being busy elsewhere) You're not the only one here who is feeling "intensely disappointed" and "...sad. And angry."

Shackleman said...

Thanks for letting me know that. Your thoughts are important to me, and I appreciate you very much. I hope to hear back from you on this subject soon.

I also hope and pray that the ominious feeling I got from your last post just now is nothing more than my own paranoia.

Peace of Christ to you, brother.

Nick said...

I watched part one and so far don't find anything at all outrageous about this documentary. I also don't find anything to be shocked about in Ilion's comments, Shackleman.

The "racism" racket needs to exposed for the fraud it is. (And no, that doesn't mean that I think real cases of racism don't exist).

I'll watch the rest and if I like it, I'll post it at my blog too (with credit, of course, to you, Ilion).

Ilíon said...

Oh, that's OK about the credit; it's not as though I made the film (and I've never heard of the fellow before). Though, if you do have any in-depth comments about the film, if you either post a link to your blog, or post your comments here, I'd appreciate that.

I've watched all six segements again; I find nothing in them to justify taking offence -- unless, of course, one has a commitment of some sort to seeing America as an irredeemably racist country. I can certainly see where such a person would take great offence at Bodeker's effective questioning of that paradigm.

I recall one statement, in I think the fifth segment (that is, at a point long after which Shackleman had stopped watching), that I'd dispute as being false. But, as the context develops, one sees that it's really a clumsy statement of the point he’s developing.

And, Shackleman, I still haven't read your comments. I will ... someday. Just not yet. It's kind of like the situation of a response Victor Reppert made to me yesterday at DI ... the very first sentence was so totally disconnected from what I'd written, making it clear that he hadn't tried to comprehend what I'd written, and so I stopped reading his response.

Shackleman said...


Ya accuse me of not attending to your comments and when I ignore them. Disheartening. My replies were thoughtful, respectful and have the spirit of civil dialogue you "said" you were looking for in your anecdote with a coworker.

You can't afford a whopping 8 minutes of your time to read my response to you, but you can afford to watch the hour long video again?

This just shows how it takes BOTH parties involved with the race issue to have the will to engage in the conversation in order for real growth to occur. I've done my part. You haven't. Remember that the next time you offer an anecdote claiming that it's the blacks who refuse to have a conversation about it.



Did you read *all* of my replies, or did you just assume I continued to have an emotional flame out? I think if you go back and read my replies beginning at July 1 at 9:03am, you'll find that, even if you disagree, I was level-headed and made an earnest attempt to thoughtfully and respectfully present my views on the topic.

Ilíon said...

Shackleman, I haven't ignored your comments. I haven't yet read them; there is a difference.

There is that "emotional flame out" to get around, and I'm just not up to it yet.

Shackleman said...

Pity, that. I collected myself evidently the very moment you gave up on me.

I apologize for my previously emotional responses. They were misplaced, and I regret that it caused a stumbling block in our dialogue.

Fare thee well, Ilion.

Ilíon said...

See, *that* is failure to attend to what another has said.

Shackleman said...

See *that* is a failure of to be humble, gracious and forgiving.

Ilíon said...

I wonder whether you'll ever figure out just how off-base you are with that last accusation?

But, at the same time, you did say, "Fare thee well, Ilion." Did you not?

Or was that meant as a rhetorical flourish, the meaning of which you didn't really understand?

kh123 said...

A little late to this party...

"So, "Regular Racism" is when *any* race practices racist behavior or holds racist beliefs (as I've defined it above) against another race. Reverse Racism however, is more specific, and refers to racist behavior or belief specifically held by blacks toward whites."

Seems to me like the term "Reverse Racism" presupposes that "Original Racism" was purely Caucasian in origin, aimed against Africans or any other non-Caucasians. Period.

Maybe we can pin "Original Sin" on those European Caucasoids as well.

Well, good to know that the cards aren't stacked against whitey in this conversation.

Ilíon said...

Well, Shackleman does (still) buy into most of the "liberal" pregramme.

But ... due to the "liberal" control of the public indoctrination centers ... even most conservatives will understrand "reverse racism" that way (i.e that racism is a "white thing").