The Chicago Tribune informs us that “Whitey” is not really a slur. Why? Because it’s just not offensive enough. The entire rather short article is below. Not only does the Tribune staff inform us that it’s really not offensive, they tell us that anyone who finds it offensive is simply ignorant and stupid.
It’s hard to come up with an ethnic slur that has less of a sting than “whitey.”
A prevalent yet unsubstantiated Internet rumor has it that Barack Obama‘s wife, Michelle, used this term at some point in a speech, and the Obama campaign is concerned enough to have posted an online rebuttal.
I’ve got to ask, though. Are there really white people out there so ignorant of history, so unaware of the nuances of language and so threatened by minority grievances that they take genuine umbrage at the term “whitey”?
More a taunt than a threat, the word has no ugly history and hints at no particular stereotypes. It may have been hurled in a menacing fashion in ugly personal confrontations from time to time, but it’s never been used to keep a people down, to put them in their place, to rank them as subhuman.
To be truly offensive, a derogatory term needs to have an ominous context that “whitey” lacks.
Those who take offense are confusing prejudice—which is making negative assumptions about people based solely on external characteristics, of which all races and ethnicities are guilty—with racism, which is prejudice in action.
It requires them to imagine that “whitey” marginalizes, diminishes and therefore harms white people.
And if they’re really that dumb, then I guess they deserve to be insulted.
Now all you deep-down-inside institutional racists dig down and think of a couple of racial slurs that you consider simply “more of a taunt” and insert it for the word “whitey” above. You see? We’re all free to make whatever slurs we deem appropriate as long as we feel that it involves simply “prejudice” and not REAL “racism;” as long as it lacks an “ominous context.” We’re all free to be prejudiced, as long as we’re not racist.
I can’t find anything in this article to disagree with, but find it hard to believe that this is setting an equal standard for whites and non-whites when it comes to racial slurs. The article could have been even shorter. Something like:
“Only white people can be racist.”
Well, it’s deja vu all over again. This time the levees are breaking in an Illinois town. Could this be racism as was the case in NO? No, this town is 99% white and only white people are racist.
With the recent flooding and forecasts for rain, I expect more levee failures and unthinkable flooding. Will the next president protect us from natural disasters? I mean, the government already protects us from everything else including ourselves.
I don’t know what exactly to say about this other than I’m simply irked by the concept of a U.N. bureaucrat lawyer traipsing around the U.S. telling us all that we’re too racist to really be in their club, but they’ll continue taking our dues.
United Press International
This doesn’t really surprise me, because I read “Audacity of Hope.” In the book it is very evident that Obama has made his Christian affiliation based on convenience and politics (he essentially says it). It didn’t really disturb me too much, but I’ve made it evident before (can’t find the post–but I’m sure I did…really) that it wasn’t my favorite thing about him.
But to be a member of this Church goes a little beyond the pail.
As someone who has recently (admittedly cautiously–and so far unsuccessfully) confronted the racist tendencies of his own Church back home, it disturbs me that someone with as good of a chance to be President as Senator Obama would be a member of a Church with so much racist dogma that it would give Lewis Farrakhan an award for “Person of the Year.”
My good friend, Jimmy, constantly tells me: Satan is a divider. Anyone who not only visits, talks to, acknowledges, but is a member of such a divisive and racist congregation is going to have a hard time convincing me that he’s really a uniter.
You see, I’m beginning to think that Senator Obama thought that if he wrote this cool book, that people would just stop paying attention and trust him. The problem I suppose is that the book made many START to pay attention to him. And that hasn’t been good for him.
There’s only one question for me really:
If a high-profile Presidential Candidate belonged to or closely affiliated with a WHITE racialist Church, would we hear about in the press?
And the corollary: And what if they were a pro-choice, Universal Health Care-supporting, anti-war, Democrat that belonged to a WHITE racialist Church?
In other words: Is Obama getting a free pass on this relationship because he’s a Democrat or because he’s Black? Or both?
Jason Malloy at Gene Expression wrote a long and detailed post on James Watson’s recent statements on evolution in Africa vs. Europe. The opener:
It is long and detailed with a lot of facts. Here’s the opener:
The public intellectual forum is being manipulated with intimidation and coercion and you are being lied to. The media is not doing its job, and the scientific community is not playing its proper public role as a beacon of dispassionate truth seeking, as a conduit of knowledge to the public, or in fostering an open and fair intellectual climate. Both are abusing their power and authority to do the opposite of their honor bound social and intellectual roles; facts are being distorted in service of values.
Watson’s remarks in the interview, like Larry Summers before him, were fairly mild. Notheless, a lot of tsk-tsking from the editorialists at Nature.