A City Tour

Apurva, a blogger from Bangalore, India, and I meet up in San Francisco and I took him on a tour of the city to the places that tourists normally don't see; such as Bay-View Hunters Point, the Vis Valley projects, Sixth St., the Tenderloin, etc. I'll blog on that latter, I'm very busy with school and I have a new job. I load and unload big rigs at a UPS hub in South San Francisco from 11:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. It's not so bad because the union I'm in is the Teamsters, so I get good benefits.


Fences in the Sky

This is a good article on The Native Press about the effects of the new boarder policies on Native tribes in Mexico and the U.S.
“Animals don’t know about borders, different countries, languages or visas. So anything that prevents the animals from moving is gonna be a problem, no matter what side the animals are at. . . It’s just dividing the same region. Its’ not going to be a matter of well, what side is the jaguar in? Is it in the US side? Are we going to keep it in the US? Or is he gonna stay in Mexico? It is not good to leave it in one side or the other. We shouldn’t have to choose for the animal.”
To read more click here.

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The Native Press


"Immigration...Errr...Uhh...I mean SOBRIETY Check Points."

My friend Tanya, a Mexicana-American who came to this country at age four from southern Mexico, was talking to me today about an even that happened to her not to long ago. She was in San Jose and was being driven by one of her friends (he was Latino and a U.S. citizen). They were on a main strip of road in San Jose in a predominantly Latino neighborhood when they were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. The checkpoint is set up in the same area during the same time every week. When the cops stopped their car they kept demanding to see her friend's (the driver) ID. They didn't seem to worried about finding out if he was drunk or not, they just wanted to see his ID. She said that they looked at his ID and made sure to check if it was fake our not. After the cops were satisfied they let them both go on through, yet they never checked (or seemed to care) if any of them were drunk. As they were passing by they looked out the window and saw a parking lot full of cars. That parking lot was mainly filled with the cars of Latino workers who did not have the licenses or any form of ID.

Tanya told me that her friend was extremely upset and told you. "You know why they do this right? They do this because they're checking to see if we're all 'illegals' or not. Not because they care about whether we've been drinking."

Tanya also made a good point when she told me. "You know. All those cars. Those vehicles are their only mode of transportation for getting to and from work. How are they going to be able to get to work?!"


Excuses and the Blame Game

While I was at work I was talking to a customer and something she told me sparked some thoughts in my mind, I really don't need to tell you guys what she said (it wasn't important really, at least not important enough to go into detail), but what it brought up in my mind was important.

I basically started thinking about how many times I hear white people use the term "excuses," "blame," "responsibility," "the race card," and "victim hood" uttered from their mouths whenever a person of color brings up certain issues in society to explain why things are the way they are. I hear these excuses often (monthly to be exact, sometimes weekly). They will mention something that they heard on the TV, or something they read, or something somebody told them pertaining to racism in America today. Whenever a commentator brings up the fact that there are huge discrepancies between whites and people of color and how racism still effects America today and how racist policies and a racist society is still keeping people of color down, they will almost always say that they are not taking the responsibility upon themselves and that they are just making excuses and "hurting" their own community by saying them (this is a main argument that Black commentator Shelby Steele makes).

Yet are they really "making excuses" that are "hurting" their own community? Or are they merely pointing out the reality of the situation and empowering people to take action in order to better their lives?

It appears to me that many whites do not want to look at the reality of the situation and when they have things pointed out to them (such as racism being prevalent in today's society) they tend to get uncomfortable and react in a way that causes them to ignore reality in order for them to feel comfortable and free of guilt. It seems that this plays out when the tell me buzz words such as "making excuses," "blame," "the race card," etc. (and the ultimate in spin, "hurting" themselves). They're transferring their guilt (which they may feel for a few split seconds) and trying to offload it on people of color in order to further continue the white supremacist propaganda of the "lazy and shiftless" person of color who can't help her/himself. By doing this one can justify (unconsciously or consciously) the continued status quo that subjects people of color to white America. (More on history of racism see "Racism," and "Construction of Whiteness." More on guilt transfer and justification of present day scenario see "Psychological False Consciousness," and "Color Blindness," among others).

By doing this whites do not need to question their privilege (and therefore their humanity) and their place in society. All they need to do is look at themselves and say. "Well, I've done good for myself and I came from humble backgrounds. Why can't they do it." It's this type of uncritical thinking that continues the perversion of white supremest thought going throughout the white American community.

But, back to the question at hand. Does this type of talk somehow hurt people of color because it's just "making excuses?" Well, I'm a white male and can't talk about what people of color think, but, I can say this. Taking into account what I've said above we can see that many whites use these terms in order to alleviate their guilt and to feel comfortable about not trying to change society. Therefore answering whether or not this type of talk actually hurts people of color is utterly ridiculous. But whenever someone tells me this and asks what I think I tell them this (and then some):
Far from it. Pointing out the realities of America's white supremacist system is not "making excuses," it's pointing out reality. By trying to figure out what is affecting today's society and by getting at the root causes of injustice in today's society is a powerful weapon that one can use in order to better one's self. Instead of creating a "victim complex" it is creating people who will empower themselves and will help themselves out (without any help from "sympathetic" and "all knowing" whites) and create strong communities. This isn't creating excuses that distracts one from building wealth and living the "American dream" because living the "American dream" doesn't do anything to alleviate society's present day ills. While there are some Colin Powells and Alberto Gonzaleses there are many more who are held back by white society and kept in poverty through white supremacist and male supremacist actions and policies. And by tackling these issues and by pointing them out one can be sure, that in the future, there won't be just a few token minorities in government office and corporate America, but instead, it will guarantee that everyone will live in a society where they will be able to control their own lives without outside oppression and extortion. But, by repeatedly giving excuses for today's ills (by not questioning one's privilege and by repeatedly saying that people of color are making "excuses," etc.) one is merely siding against humanity and with white supremacy.


The Blog and the Bullet

Hey, the Double Consciousness team has started a new blog called The Blog and the Bullet. It's a blog aggregator that was inspired by Blogbharti. Basically The Blog and the Bullet "tries to bring to you the best of the blogosphere concerning issues of race and white supremacy. The title of the blog comes from the April 1964 speech by Malcolm X titled 'The Ballot or the Bullet.' We use the term to show that our blog has a radical take on racial issues and white privilege and white supremacy."

Basically what we want to do with this blog is to link other blogs that we think have good and interesting things to say on race, white supremacy/privilege, and radical issues in genera. We do that as well on this blog but in this blog we tend to add our own commentary to the links, with The Blog and the Bullet all we do is provide a brief descriptor and a link to the blog and post. Hope you all check it out.

We have four editors, the three from the Double Consciousness team and Yolanda Carrington, who does the excellent blog The Primary Contradiction, which focuses on issues of race, gender, and power in Western society.

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Jojo X Serie



I was in my car, driving to school, when I decided to listen to Steal This Album (again) by The Coup. Upon listening to the lyrics of the song "Fixation" I found this section of the song speak to me in many ways, especially about "the movement" (anti-racist, liberation, anti- heterosexist, etc.):
it takes contemplation, conspiration
conversation and propagation
information dissemination and tribulations no hesitation
indoctrination, affiliation, penitentiary and jail evasion
for liberation and publications
I'll leave it at that for your own interpretations.

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Bad Subjects


Making Whites Feel Guilty

Last Autumn I took a class called "Humanism and Mysticism" to finish all of my requirements for my Religious Studies minor. The class started out promising but the professor really had an ax to grind, especially concerning issues of race, although he did it cryptically (except for one occasion, but I'll do another blog on that latter), so many people in the class couldn't pick up his conservative white man biases (in fact, many thought he was a liberal since he was a band member in Sha Na Na and played in Woodstock).

At one point in December 2006 he began talking about Friedrich Nietzshce and his theory on the transvaluation of values and how Nietzshce used the transvaluation of values to attack Christianity (but we don't need to get into that right now). This is how his lecture went:

Basically he started talking about the Beautitudes and he was saying. "You know the Beautitudes. 'Blessed are the poor, blessed are the hungary, etc. Woe to you who are rich.'"

He than went on to say how this is bad thinking and how its not bad to be rich, it's bad to be poor and that nobody likes to be poor. Of course, one can take the context of Jesus' message as not blessing poverty but instead blessing the people in poverty because they endure hardships imposed on them from the outside, but we don't need to get into that now. With this he introduced a theory that Nietzsche had on religion.

Essentially (this is how the professor described it). Originally there was a "Master Class" and the "Hoi Polloi" (slaves, or, the masses). The Hoi Polloi are what make up around 70-90% of the society and the Master Class are the minority who control society and get educated. After awhile though a sect within the Master Class breaks away, they are too physically weak to rule by force and they don't have enough clout to rule politically, this sect is called the "Priestly Class." Essentially the Priestly Class guides the Hoi Polloi to revolt against the Master Class and to overthrow them. With this the Priestly Class takes its place over the Master Class. The professor than told us that the Priestly Class makes the Master Class "feel guilty" and "uses the strengths of the Master Class to make them fell guilty."

Our professor told us. "Now, unlike some," referring here (most likely) to Ethnic Studies professors and radical professors in general, "I'm not here to make you feel guilty. Oh, woe to you because your rich. NO! I'm not about that at all. How dare I."

For the professor, the Master Class is the normal ruling class in this society, i.e. white people (he talked much on how there is no racism anymore in my class), and the Priestly Class are the professors, specifically Ethnic Studies professors who make white people "feel guilty." For the professor, these Ethnic Studies professors use the "strengths" of whites to make them feel guilty. White people are on top due to hard work, they are in colleges because they study hard, they have riches because they worked hard, they live in nice neighborhoods because they were "smart enough" to move out when crime was rising and when suburbs opened up. The professor in my class saw these Ethnic Studies professors as unjustly making whites feel guilty for their position in society and he saw their position in society as justly earned.

He would constantly say in class. "I'm not here to make you feel guilty. Sex is good. Power is good. Money is good."

During class he would also compare and contrast Confucian values (by Confucian values I mean his version of Confucian values, so if it looks like I'm insulting Confucianism, I'm not, I'm just insulting the professor's version of Confucianism) with Taoist and Christian values. He would show us how Jesus made the rich "feel guilty" because Jesus came from the poor countryside, which looked at urban wealth as earned off the backs of the poor country folk and how wealth was opulent and sinful. He would also show us how in the Tao Te Ching where it would say that wealth was the "fall of man" and how it "diluted" man and distracted man from the Tao (or, the Way). He would always paint Taoism and Christianity in a negative light because of this. He said that the Priestly Class asked humanity to do things that were impossible (such as renounce wealth and turn the other check, etc.) so humanity would "feel guilty" and turn to the priests for help. He even quoted a passage from the Tao Te Ching (a passage on the evils of wealth and opulence) and said that. "This isn't right! This is what Osama preaches." Essentially, he was equated Taoism to radical Jihadist Whabism (the Christian Right, if you will, of the Muslim world).

With Confucianism, he would say, you have a good balance. Making money is good and one should make money (as long as it didn't conflict with the Tao) and one should gain power, since power was good (as long as it didn't conflict with the Tao).

Essentially, the professor was using the Confucian values (his Confucian values) of wealth and power to counter the Christian (as in the historical Jesus, not present day conservative Christianity) and Taoist values on wealth and power. He pervertedly took these Confucian values to support the system of white male supremacy in the United States. For him power is good; the white males in America have power; money is good; the white males in America have money; and to preach against these things was to make whites "feel guilty;" and making whites "feel guilty," according to the professor, is wrong; wrong because whites got to where they were based on hard work. He also would use the Asian Model Minority myth to prove that racism didn't exist and that all races could have wealth and power in America (see "Welfare Mothers" and "The Asians Have Landed!").

One time in class he said. "Asian American Studies professors always try to disprove the model minority. 'We have gang bangers! We do drugs! We're dumb too!' Bullshit, don't believe any of it." (I've taken three Asian American Studies classes and have yet to hear any professor say this).

Like most whites, my professor can't see that the wealth and power white society has built up is solely off of governmental policies that benefited whites and is off the labor and toil of people of color; whether it be slavery, Pilipino farm laborers in the 1920s and 1930s, Latino immigrants today (just to name a few). What my professor had done was to justify the existence of white male supremacy in America today by stating that there is no alternative and that we should continue to on our way and not change the system. And any attack on the system makes whites feel unduly "guilty" for being "strong."


Color Blindness

I just read a good book review on the blog mnemosyne which is a blog on the "rants & musings of an uppity woman of color." The book review was on Doane, Ashley W. and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, eds. White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism. New York: Routledge, 2003. In the review she goes over the books purpose:
“Whiteness studies adds that the “personal interrogation of position” will make whiteness visible and thereby undermine the perpetuation of an unjust racial order. There is an assumption here that if white people would only become conscious of their whiteness, more just behavior would follow. One might ask if becoming conscious of whiteness could not just as easily produce white-supremacist movements or lead white people to feel relieved that they have privilege and others do not…”

right off the bat an unquestioned assumption is challenged. i knew @ this point that this book was not going to be like most of the books i’ve read on whiteness. pleasantly, i was not disappointed. not only is ‘White Out’ a book on whiteness that doesn’t center on whites, it exposes the racism of color-blindness...(Read More)
I suggest you check out the review and the blog.


A Girl Like Me

About a month ago, Jack had done a post entitled Black Dolls/White Dolls and Issues in Identity where he talks about how white standards of beauty, which dominate the mainstream, impact people of color. Some of the information he cites comes from a documentary called A Girl Like Me. As it turns out, this short is actually available on youtube so I've posted it here it is for your enjoyment! Check it out. It's only about seven minutes long. (Thanks, Shamiya for telling me about this!)