White people on Metafilter February 15, 2008 9:02 AM   Subscribe

I think it's deleting this link twice shows that Metafilter mods don't have a sense of humour about themselves.
posted by dydecker to Etiquette/Policy at 9:02 AM (508 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I'm pretty sure that's not why it got deleted.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:05 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I mean as soon as I saw the site I thought of Metafilter, then I tried to post it and saw it had been deleted twice for reasons of being "lame". More like "on the mark" methinks
posted by dydecker at 9:05 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


You know how jokes usually work. Deleting it the third time will be the punchline.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:06 AM on February 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Dude, I'm the whitest guy I know and am pretty much at peace with this fact. The post was heavily flagged both times and struck me as pretty lame; there've been much funnier whitey-satire posts in the past that have stood just fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2008


Yeah, not to cause a rift with my fellow mefites, but I thought the stuffwhitepeoplelike site was funny and all the people crying "racist!" in the thread sound like people that can't laugh at themselves or mainstream white culture. Of course the entries on the site are ridiculous generalizations, that doesn't mean they're not true often times.

I had to fight to keep White Whines up since it got flagged a bazillion million times but that site is even funnier (and like I told friends, half the things I say could show up on white whines).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


It's not a satire of white people it's a satire of the predelictions of upper-middle class Americans. ie Metafilter's demographic.
posted by dydecker at 9:08 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


"The Man" is always beating whitey down. That's the way it is, that's the way it always has been.
posted by Floydd at 9:10 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just another example of the establishment trying to keep the white man down.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:11 AM on February 15, 2008


I thought the post was OK. On the other hand, I can see deleting it because it got deleted yesterday. Stare decisis and whatnot.
posted by shothotbot at 9:11 AM on February 15, 2008


I and I thinking you been in Babylon too long.
posted by aramaic at 9:14 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's not a satire of white people it's a satire of the predelictions of upper-middle class Americans. ie Metafilter's demographic.

Ouch, bad karma, dude.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 AM on February 15, 2008


Absolutely agree with dydecker & mathowie - I thought it was hilarious. Seems like there was a lot of kneejerk reactions to the url - the jokes aren't really about white people, more about the middle classes.
posted by chrispy at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2008


Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.
posted by smackfu at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2008


The blog was meh, the thread was actually kind of entertaining.
posted by Skorgu at 9:20 AM on February 15, 2008



There was this kid I used to babysit. We'd watch tv, and he'd press the mute button rapidly until I told him to knock it off. Then he'd do it again just to get a rise out of me.

That's usually when I turned off the tv and told him to go to bed. He'd cry.

The moral of the story: Send a kid to bed early, and you have an extra hour to jerk off to the softcore VHS's his dad recorded during that wonderful week Showtime and HBO offered a free preview.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:21 AM on February 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't really care whether it's racist, or even whether it's a thinly veiled LOLLIB'RULS site; I care that "white people are like this!" is the Jay Leno's prolapsed asshole of comedy. But if you miss this post, I have some awesome emails I can forward you. You will, I assure you, make with the high wakka-wakka.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm not so sure that's the moral.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:24 AM on February 15, 2008


Yeah, I think "this is lame" is a bad reason to delete something, because people weren't flagging it because they thought it was lame, they were flagging it because they thought it was racist. I mean, just say "Alot of people seem to think this is racist."

I'm 1/2 white, and the 1/2 of me that's asian totally was laughing at the 1/2 of me that's white until I punched myself in the arm 3 times.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2008


I flagged it because it was a double and because of the post wording, which I thought basically said that people who don't like that stuff don't really belong here. I just thought it could be alienating if a person already felt on the outside here. Like: Metafilter -- we are all white or upper-middle-class or whatever.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2008


So, this got deleted because cortex didn't think it was funny enough? Or what?
posted by chrismear at 9:28 AM on February 15, 2008


It's not a satire of white people...

Yes it is. How very "upper middle-class American" of you to take the post not at face value, but for what it really is. I mean, it's not a very mean-spirited, ugly, or serious satire of "white people" but it sure as hell strikes me as a sort of riff on the DL Hughley bit from the Original Kings of Comedy (and its many predecessors and offspring).

It's fine to satirize "white people" if that's what gets you off. I certainly don't give a shit. But to say "oh no! it's just a yuppie thing" is a bit ridiculous.
posted by kosem at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think "this is lame" is a bad reason to delete something

Dude, "this is lame" is the best reason to delete something.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


I thought it was kind of a light post, and pretty wack really.
posted by cashman at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2008


I have NEVER I mean ALWAYS found that a complaint about someone's supposed impaired sense of humor says more about the plaintiff than it does the defendant.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to the 'Stuff Arabs Like' post.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:30 AM on February 15, 2008


Black People Love Us is much funnier.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who needs a post?

Stuff Arabs Like:

1) Oxygen
2) Water
3) Gravity

Feel free to add.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:36 AM on February 15, 2008


Cortex is WHITE!? WTF?
posted by dobbs at 9:36 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


rent-a-negro
posted by mlis at 9:37 AM on February 15, 2008


I am only one third white, so I have a sense of humor about things. It wasn't a great post though IMO. How many times do we have to rehash "white people [verb] like this, black people [verb] like this."?
posted by Mister_A at 9:38 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I thought the first time around was crappy. This one I flagged as a double.

I'm a white guy, and I don't fit a lot of these, but more than that, it's cheap, lowest-common-denominator 'humor'. If I put up 'things any other group likes' whether it's black people, Republicans, Canadians, pizza delivery guys, someone's probably going to point out that it's cheap generalizations disguised as comedy, and I would expect it to get wiped out.
posted by pupdog at 9:39 AM on February 15, 2008


Yeah, I think "this is lame" is a bad reason to delete something

Dude, "this is lame" is the best reason to delete something.

Then why is it not on the list of reasons to flag something? I see stuff that is I think is lame every single day on metafilter. I don't think the site would be better if everytime anyone thought something was lame they flagged it. Ignoring the things that I think are lame and leaving them for someone else to enjoy seems to work much better.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2008


Also, cortex is one funny motherfucker.
posted by Mister_A at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2008


Ahh, but if a lot of people think something is really lame, there you go...
posted by Mister_A at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2008


Ignoring the things that I think are lame and leaving them for someone else to enjoy seems to work much better.

I agree. Deleting the lame, silly stuff only leaves us with new material on the same tired subjects we've been fighting about for years.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's not a satire of white people it's a satire of the predelictions of upper-middle class Americans.

yeah, but who posted it?...oh, that fucker.
posted by micayetoca at 9:43 AM on February 15, 2008


Uh, I thought it was okay. Not the greatest of posts, but certainly fine enough. As I mentioned in the thread some of it was pretty spot on, #62 especially made me wince.
posted by Kattullus at 9:43 AM on February 15, 2008


We're all pink inside.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:43 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ahh, but if a lot of people think something is really lame, there you go...

But are they lame because their right foot got cut off and thrown in the ocean?
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2008


"White chocolate' is not officially recognized by the FDA as "chocolate", nor is it actually "white".
Discuss.
posted by Dizzy at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm glad you brought that up, never used baby shoes. That post is part of a viral marketing campaign for Kirk Cameron's new Left Behind breakfast cereal.
posted by Mister_A at 9:50 AM on February 15, 2008


Isn't saying "white people Metafilter" the same as saying "white people = Metafilter," or at least "[linked site] = Metafilter"?

And shouldn't we, you know, not do that, because Metafilter is not actually a hole and we are not all round pegs?
posted by onlyconnect at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I agree. Deleting the lame, silly stuff only leaves us with new material on the same tired subjects we've been fighting about for years.

Yeah, but I don't think "lame" and "silly" are the same things at all. You can have something sorta light and frothy that won't change anyone's life and is still a worthwhile post. Hence, silly, but not lame.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:54 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this where someone comes in to point out that Metafilter is supposed to be for the "best of the Web" and if something is lame, it is by definition not the "best of the Web" and therefore up for deletion?

The first post was not as funny as it could have been. The second post was also not as funny, AND it was a double, so why not delete it?

This post was also deleted for being lame. Where's the love for that one?
posted by rtha at 9:57 AM on February 15, 2008


I think "this is lame" is the best and really the only essential reason to delete something.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:59 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


dydeckerPoster: "It's not a satire of white people it's a satire of the predelictions of upper-middle class Americans. ie Metafilter's demographic."

<tonto>What you mean "we", white man? </tonto>
posted by octothorpe at 10:01 AM on February 15, 2008


I sure like bikes. But I don't know what's best for poor people.
posted by everichon at 10:02 AM on February 15, 2008


Then why is it not on the list of reasons to flag something?

"It breaks the guidelines." Because you're not supposed to post lame shit here.
posted by smackfu at 10:02 AM on February 15, 2008


"It's not a satire of white people it's a satire of the predelictions of upper-middle class Americans. ie Metafilter's demographic."

Well, except that it failed in communicating that.

Look, I make fun of white people more than anyone this melanin side of Martin Lawrence. But the site was lame—the fact that many of the lame white people here like it is not an exculpation. And we'd already seen part of it, the Rap Songs White People Like was an FPP here months ago.

So a particularly stilted white-people-walk-like-this link that had already been partially posted? Delete it. Find something actually funny that satirizes white people. Unless you're too goddamned pasty to realize that hey, there are many places that make fun of you offays.
posted by klangklangston at 10:03 AM on February 15, 2008


Then why is it not on the list of reasons to flag something?

Things which are too lame offend me, there is an "offensive" flag, and I have flagged them as such.

As for racism/acceptable or no, if we allow "Stuff White People Like" we have to allow "Stuff Black People Like" and, while I would have no objections to decent posts on both, I think there's enough people who would throw a shitshow.

Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.


It's interesting how class works on the internet. Metafilter seems to me solidly among the upper classes of the Internet, compared to say, the internet slum that is Myspace, or the tech-worker internet middle-class of Digg. But on the internet your class isn't determined by your money or your conspicuous consumption. Anyone with five bucks, the ability to work the English language and a bit of logic, and enough sense to LURK MOAR until knowing not to self-link, etc. can join the elite Metafilter class. (That people who are real-world poor sadly may not end up receiving the proper education for the second does confound this somewhat.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:06 AM on February 15, 2008


Of course it communicated that, klang. "White people care about poor people"? Obviously "white people" in that sentence isn't talking about the colour of people's skins

As a non-American, non-upper middle class person who doesn't really "get" all the references to therapy and lawyers and Sarah Silverman and farmer's markets on Metafilter, I found the site kinda instructive!
posted by dydecker at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2008


It was a fun read. And a disappointing deletion. Before this morning's was deleted I was looking back at the initial post that was linked within the thread, curious as to why it was first deleted. I couldn't understand why it was, aside from any mention of race causing flags to rise, and then this one went too. This site isn't so crudely done that lame is a reasonable dismissal of it. It was a satire of a certain kind of pretension, found among our privileged classes, but not exclusive to them. I could recognize enough of myself and people I know to find it light, harmless amusement. Anyway, everyone already knows that spending the afternoon debating how many (n-1) blue-eyed islanders will kill themselves is what white people really like.
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


It does sort of imply that people of color can't be navelgazing trendy yuppies. Asians can too, and are probably even better at it than white people, which is why they're such a threat.


Meanwhile, what's the ruling on generalizing metafilter or "us" as white? Is it a clear-eyed indictment of ourselves, with recognition that the non-representative balance reflects social injustices we're making an attempt to shift, or is it a masking of our extant diversity? My college has this problem, and we taked about it in these terms, and I'm still undecided.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Controversial as it is, the site in question should be a LOT funnier, or at least poignant.
posted by deern the headlice at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2008


I don't understand why this was deleted.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2008


Find something actually funny that satirizes white people.

But I already think this is funny. If you don't, and you want to make a case that stuffwhitepeoplelike is lame, but that there are other things that you would find funny, then step up and present one.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:10 AM on February 15, 2008


Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.

I wasn't aware that income (or lack thereof) was the sole metric by which we determine class. A grad student who (temporarily) makes $15k a year is likely a very different beast from the maid who's cleaned hotel rooms for the last 10 years for that same $15k.
posted by rtha at 10:12 AM on February 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Perhaps the deletion was too much in haste. There might be some white people out there having a serious identity crisis and that link could have been their salvation. Sigh, who will think of the masses (descriptive noun good up to 2050).
posted by Atreides at 10:12 AM on February 15, 2008


Oh, and as someone who thought Juno was an embarassing-contrivance-bordering-on-abominiation, I must be losing my Whiteness cred.
posted by deern the headlice at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


If the white man ain't the devil, how come every time a UFO come down and pick one up... they kick his ass?
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2008


I thought it was hilarious.
posted by Eideteker at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2008


23skidoo: Yeah, I think "this is lame" is a bad reason to delete something, because people weren't flagging it because they thought it was lame, they were flagging it because they thought it was racist.

Speak for yourself. I didn't flag it for having anything to do with race; I flagged it because it because it was lame.
posted by ssg at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I flagged it because it because it was lame.

How often do you flag things for being lame?
posted by 23skidoo at 10:18 AM on February 15, 2008


*still reading*

Seriously, this shit is right on the money.
posted by Eideteker at 10:19 AM on February 15, 2008


I don't understand why this was deleted.

It was lame. Pay attention.
posted by languagehat at 10:19 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


23skidoo: We just discussed this very issue yesterday. Cortex's comment in the thread about flagging gives the Admin perspective on this.

How often do you flag things for being lame?

Since you asked, probably a couple times a week on average.
posted by ssg at 10:29 AM on February 15, 2008


I don't understand why this was deleted.

It was deleted because people who thought this was funny didn't anticipate that they needed to flag this as "Fantastic" in order for their opinions to be considered.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:30 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was deleted because people who thought this was funny didn't anticipate that they needed to flag this as "Fantastic" in order for their opinions to be considered.

Or get 235 favorites.
posted by jmd82 at 10:33 AM on February 15, 2008


because people weren't flagging it because they thought it was lame, they were flagging it because they thought it was racist.

Wouldn't that be pretty clear in the flag details though? If it's racist, that's the offensive flag. Lame would be some other flag.
posted by smackfu at 10:33 AM on February 15, 2008


Has anyone actually done demographic research on Metafilter? I like to think one of the strengths of the community is its diversity, but perhaps we are not as diverse as I thought. God, what if we're all Belgian cartoon characters?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:33 AM on February 15, 2008


I didn't want to say it, but I can't resist. The MeTa post that heads up this thread is really strangely written.
posted by Mister_A at 10:34 AM on February 15, 2008


Having read it, I say: s/White People/MeFi Demo/g
posted by everichon at 10:34 AM on February 15, 2008


It has an extra "it's". But what to do?
posted by dydecker at 10:36 AM on February 15, 2008


Well I'm glad I got it off my chest. I'm also glad that it was just a "whoops", and you are not in the habit of saying things like "It's me who needs to go to the bathroom", or "It's not I who am crazy, it is I who am mad!"
posted by Mister_A at 10:39 AM on February 15, 2008


smackfu said: Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.

if I take a year off from work to backpack around Europe, am I "poor" because I don't have any income? This sort of disconnect is just what that website is pointing out, albeit in a not-that-funny way.

Metafilter has lots of people who have enough free time in their day to post. Either they aren't at work, aren't that busy at work, or don't fear the consequences of getting caught.

{NOT SLACKERIST}
posted by dubold at 10:43 AM on February 15, 2008


Metafilter: It's you who are wrong! No, it's you who are wrong!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2008


if I take a year off from work to backpack around Europe, am I "poor" because I don't have any income?

Exactly. Grad students may not make a lot of money, but that doesn't make them lower-middle class.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, Metafilter: It's I who am white! No, it's I who am upper middle class!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:47 AM on February 15, 2008


Has anyone actually done demographic research on Metafilter?

As a 7-letterer, age 12 months one week of cccc99 and cccc00 descent with about an 80% faved to fav ratio, I'm guessing there are a lot of others who are older than me, but otherwise pretty similar. I have lower middle class comment numbers, probably like a lot of people. I guess leap year will be the census year?
posted by cashman at 10:47 AM on February 15, 2008


oops: my college had. jeez, woman, move on!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2008



It does sort of imply that people of color can't be navelgazing trendy yuppies.

I think the site uses "white people" as a codeword for trendy yuppies rather than actual white people - there are a few nonwhite people in the pictures on that blog [1] [2]

I thought the site was funnier than "White Whine", but ah well.
posted by pravit at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2008


"Tagged as Rascist and Deleted From Metafilter" - BuzzFeed
posted by Dave Faris at 10:55 AM on February 15, 2008


I thought it was lame it got deleted. Twice. (Though, I can live with my posts deletion because I enjoyed Cortex' deletion message was funny.)

This site isn't controversial. It certainly isn't racist.
posted by chunking express at 11:04 AM on February 15, 2008


Rascist, indeed. Top notch work there BuzzFeed.

MORE LIKE BUZKILL AMIRITE?
posted by Mister_A at 11:05 AM on February 15, 2008


God I can barely speak English.
posted by chunking express at 11:06 AM on February 15, 2008


Obviously "white people" in that sentence isn't talking about the colour of people's skins

What?
posted by puke & cry at 11:06 AM on February 15, 2008


It was fucking hilarious and dead-on accurate for pretty much every well-educated white liberal I know, including and especially myself. Bad call, 'tex.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:10 AM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


What?

Some white people are poor people.
posted by dydecker at 11:12 AM on February 15, 2008


What's really lame is that I didn't post this. I'm not on the top of my game anymore.
posted by Stynxno at 11:13 AM on February 15, 2008


Given that half the comments in the thread were about how funny or spot-on, or awesome it was, and the fact that it was one of the top favorited posts, I can hardly see how the deletion can be justified for 'lameness'. Obviously it wasn't "lame" to everyone, it was "controversial", which is a shitty, lowest common denominator, reason to delete something.

I think the people calling for the post's deletion are the EXACT SAME people being satirized so deftly by the website. It has nothing to do with "racism" against whites (Boo Hoo), but about the perception of a certain kind of lower status humor ("lame") that rejecting is part of their intellectual and cultural identity. cf:
"WARNING: under no circumstances should you EVER list Dane Cook as your favorite comedian. The wrong kind of white people like him. And mentioning him will cause white people to lose all respect for you."
And
"I care that "white people are like this!" is the Jay Leno's prolapsed asshole of comedy. But if you miss this post, I have some awesome emails I can forward you. You will, I assure you, make with the high wakka-wakka."
In other words, ostentatiously shitting on the "lameness" of Stuff White People Like, instead of just letting the people who like it enjoy it, is actually just an overt expression of your status above the "wrong kind of white people": Those guache Jay Leno loving dunderheads. (Even though the site was actually written for the kind of people who can relate to the satire, which is, ironically, NOT, the Dane Cook/Jay Leno/Larry the Cable Guy set that MeFites so desperately, almost fanatically, feel the need to disassociate themselves from)

So please restore the post. It not only was liked by many MeFites, but the grand majority of those who complained about it obviously didn't even get the joke, and wanted it taken down for all the wrong reasons.
posted by dgaicun at 11:13 AM on February 15, 2008 [25 favorites]


Find something actually funny that satirizes white people.

Most MetaTalk threads?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:16 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Resubmit it when it hits Cracked.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


If it doesn't mean "white people" why does it say "white people"?
posted by puke & cry at 11:18 AM on February 15, 2008


If it doesn't mean "white people" why does it say "white people"?

Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome: "Being unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech. Thus, your child may not understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally."
posted by dydecker at 11:21 AM on February 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


sorry that was mean, but jeez...
posted by dydecker at 11:23 AM on February 15, 2008


"Of course it communicated that, klang. "White people care about poor people"? Obviously "white people" in that sentence isn't talking about the colour of people's skins"

Then, hey, maybe it shouldn't use "white people" as such a hackneyed gag.

"As a non-American, non-upper middle class person who doesn't really "get" all the references to therapy and lawyers and Sarah Silverman and farmer's markets on Metafilter, I found the site kinda instructive!"

Congratulations. That you found it instructive does not mean that it was not also lame.

As for similar stuff done well, the Black People Love Us site is excellent.

And to answer the general criticism that the people calling for the deletion are the ones parodied—the people calling for it to stick around are also the ones parodied. You know what white people love? Sites that gently poke fun at their foibles while making no actual criticism! Wow, you zinged us!

Now go back to watching The Daily Show and listening to indie rock, you corny fux.
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 AM on February 15, 2008


Now I have aspergers, huh?

I was going to be civil but fuck you too, then. I think you're an idiot that's reading too much into this. Newsflash, dumbass: they REALLY ARE talking about people that are white! Not whatever stupid definition that stuck in your head.

I don't really care if they're making fun of white people nor do I care either way about it being posted here, so be clear that I'm not defending the deletion. Just try to explain your reasoning instead of being a prick.
posted by puke & cry at 11:27 AM on February 15, 2008


dgaicun: Are you accusing me and klangklangston (!) of being high-brow? Also, according to you, dislike or disdain for that post indicates that we "don't get it", and automatically qualifies us as the butt of the joke.

On the other hand, I think complaining ad nauseam about the deletion of something that some people found mildly entertaining on a web site certainly qualifies as a "white whine", regardless of the color of your skin. See? I can play that game too! But I won't because it's stupid. I would rather play Candyland.
posted by Mister_A at 11:31 AM on February 15, 2008


Whether it's funny or not is sort of beside the point, isn't it? Lots of "funny" stuff that gets posted to MeFi isn't funny and doesn't get deleted.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:32 AM on February 15, 2008


If it doesn't mean "white people" why does it say "white people"?

If it doesn't mean "Canadians" why does it say "Canadians"?
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:34 AM on February 15, 2008


Dane Cook/Jay Leno/Larry the Cable Guy

These are actually three very distinct audiences. Well, it's two. I don't think Dane Cook actually has an audience.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:34 AM on February 15, 2008


#104: White People like to get filled with Internet Nerd Rage.
posted by chunking express at 11:34 AM on February 15, 2008


I am too highbrow for your jokes.
posted by klangklangston at 11:35 AM on February 15, 2008


Also, I think taking this to MetaTalk was silly. Posts get deleted all the time. This deletion doesn't seem any more special than any others.
posted by chunking express at 11:36 AM on February 15, 2008




Or, contrariwise, Jay Leno isn't funny not because the wrong kind of white people like him but because he's not funny.

I didn't think it was funny, racist or particularly insightful so I ignored it. I won't shed a tear for its deletion but I didn't bother to flag it.
posted by Skorgu at 11:39 AM on February 15, 2008


dydecker writes "It's not a satire of white people it's a satire of the predelictions of upper-middle class Americans. ie Metafilter's demographic."

I sure wish there was some way to determine this. A lot of members think this but I don't see it as being true at all.

23skidoo writes "Then why is it not on the list of reasons to flag something?"

"breaks the guidelines" is there.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 AM on February 15, 2008


Also, I think taking this to MetaTalk was silly. Posts get deleted all the time. This deletion doesn't seem any more special than any others.

I just thought it was ironic that's all. Specifically I was amused that this post today gets to stay while this post is "lame".
posted by dydecker at 11:43 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Other people have said this as well, but I've got to add my 2 cents.

This site is stupid and vaugly racist, but not white person racist. It's stupid because the jokes are recycled, ranty, and mean spritied. But if that was all it was it would just be yet another stupid site like that Maddox dude that so many people seem think is hillarious. Not deletion worthy.

That's not why it is racist. I live in a fairly integrated urban area and most of these behaviors seem to transcend race. In fact the writer explicitly admits that these aren't really this is the case in a few places. It is racist because the overwhemling message is saying is "urban, middle class and better equals white." And if you aren't white then living a fairly comfortable, if hey maybe a bit hypocritical, life is acting white. Sorry Mr. Writer but that's a serious case of the other you have going on there.

I think it is funny that Mathowie compares this site to the white whine because I think that one is actually clever. While it does also somewhat mix whiteness and middle class, it also captures the white privilege of your biggest complaints being about something totally banal. (Plus it has a much better finger on what part of our culture really is, oh my god, WHITE, come on, this is fucking dead on.)
posted by aspo at 11:43 AM on February 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Who would flag that as racist? That shit is funny!
posted by milarepa at 11:47 AM on February 15, 2008


Oh come on. This is not racist. It's satire. Racist would be "kill white people" or "white people are stupid" NOT "white people like recycling." Jeez.

I'm pretty much as white as they come, by the way: On any given day you're likely to find me cycling down the streets of a capital city in Scandinavia wearing skinny jeans and a messenger bag, listening to De La Soul on my iPod.
posted by sveskemus at 11:48 AM on February 15, 2008


@aspo, I don't think your argument makes much sense, or at the very least should apply equally to both sites. I agree they both equate the privileged middle class life with being White. OH NOES RACISMS.

Also, I agree White Whine is the better of the two sites.
posted by chunking express at 11:49 AM on February 15, 2008


"Oh come on. This is not racist. It's satire. Racist would be "kill white people" or "white people are stupid" NOT "white people like recycling." Jeez."

"White people like recycling" implies that non-white people do not like recycling. That's a racist implication, regardless of your own lily-white stamp of approval.

And yes, white whine is better.
posted by klangklangston at 11:56 AM on February 15, 2008


"White people like recycling" implies that non-white people do not like recycling. That's a racist implication, regardless of your own lily-white stamp of approval.

No it doesn't.
posted by sveskemus at 11:58 AM on February 15, 2008


By the way, IMHO racial does not necessarily mean racist. It can be hard to tell where the boundary is though, because it is not set in stone; it is always relative to who says what to whom.
posted by Mister_A at 11:59 AM on February 15, 2008


Of course it does. Otherwise, there'd be no point in mentioning "white people." Do you not understand how implications work?
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on February 15, 2008


Also, did you actually read the recycling post? It's satire about how white people (in this context meaning upper middle class people or whatever) like the appearance of saving the environment without actually doing much. Which is pretty spot on IMNSHO.
posted by sveskemus at 11:59 AM on February 15, 2008


chunking express: When I read White Whine I think of people I know from whom, really, these kinds of complaints are the most pressing thing they have going on. And you know what, they are all white. Not, say, second generation+ upper middle class. It's a white privilege not to have do deal with racist bullshit on a regular enough basis that you get to lose a sense of proportion about what actually constitutes hardship. (Though it could well be that I just find white whine funny and I find what white people like trite and I'm coming up with excuses for liking one or the other, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.)
posted by aspo at 11:59 AM on February 15, 2008


"White people like recycling" implies that non-white people do not like recycling.

Even if that was true, which it's not, that is definitely not the reason someone would flag the post as racist.
posted by milarepa at 12:01 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"It's satire about how white people (in this context meaning upper middle class people or whatever)"

Again, implying a link between skin color and socio-economic status. And doing so in a particularly hamfisted and uninteresting way.
posted by klangklangston at 12:01 PM on February 15, 2008


Do you not understand how implications work?

Clearly someone here doesn't.
posted by chunking express at 12:03 PM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Eh, I thought it was funny.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:04 PM on February 15, 2008


Saying white people = upper middle class is also not racist. Because by and large the upper middle class in the U.S. consists of white people. And making the generalization is a way of making you aware of the fact in a way that is actually funny1. This is about discussing some of the problems of American society in a way that makes you laugh and think. You know, satire.

1 At least I think it's funny. If you don't, well, then there's really not much accounting for taste. cortex and a bunch of other people also didn't find it funny and so it was deleted. I don't have a problem with that. I just don't think the blog is racist.
posted by sveskemus at 12:05 PM on February 15, 2008


"o you not understand how implications work?

Clearly someone here doesn't."

I have 100 balls. 50 of those balls are red.

This implies, but does not prove or state, that the other balls are not red.
posted by klangklangston at 12:09 PM on February 15, 2008


People named sveskemus thought the Stuff People Like blog was funny.

This does not imply that everyone else hated its guts.
posted by sveskemus at 12:13 PM on February 15, 2008


"I have 100 balls. 50 of those balls are red."

It must be a bitch to find pants that fit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:19 PM on February 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Actually, a lot of the upper middle class is Indian, some are Asians-who-are-not-Indian, and the rest are lesbians, if I'm reading this census report right.
posted by Mister_A at 12:21 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have 100 balls. 50 of those balls are red.

Yeah, its pretty basic.

In Latin it is written: expressio unius est exclusio alterius.

If one does not intend to limit a statement, one wouldn't put in a limiting term.
posted by dios at 12:23 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Oh come on. This is not racist. It's satire. Racist would be "kill white people" or "white people are stupid" NOT "white people like recycling."

Black people like watermelon. Asian people like Louis Vuitton. Mexicans like naps. Don't you see the racism in this?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:24 PM on February 15, 2008


Oh, and as someone who thought Juno was an embarassing-contrivance-bordering-on-abominiation,

I thought I was the only one!
posted by milarepa at 12:25 PM on February 15, 2008


Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.

Ultralol
posted by atrazine at 12:26 PM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Black people like watermelon. Asian people like Louis Vuitton. Mexicans like naps. Don't you see the racism in this?

That's the sort of "racism" you'd see posted on White Whine I suspect.
posted by chunking express at 12:28 PM on February 15, 2008


I like grey poupon and malt liquor. Who am I?
posted by Mister_A at 12:28 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Me?
posted by chunking express at 12:32 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


That blog is awesome if only for the link to "Jess's Photos". The flickr profile alone has me confused as to whether it is high irony or utter sincerity.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:33 PM on February 15, 2008


"I have 100 balls. 50 of those balls are red."

It must be a bitch to find pants that fit.


Yeah, if his pants fit he probably wouldn't have red balls.
posted by tommasz at 12:34 PM on February 15, 2008


Black people like watermelon. Asian people like Louis Vuitton. Mexicans like naps. Don't you see the racism in this?

Saying "white people like recycling" is a short (and some might think funny) way of saying "a large group of hegemonic people like to appear to be doing good for society whilst not actually really doing much." Saying "black people like watermelon" is just a generalization without any other meaning that I can tell. That makes "white people like recycling" satire and "black people like watermelon" not satire.

Saying Jerry Falwell fucked his mother was satire because it was about making fun of someone in a position of power. Saying sveskemus fucked his mother would be just... well, not satire at least.
posted by sveskemus at 12:37 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think "this is lame" is a bad reason to delete something, because people weren't flagging it because they thought it was lame, they were flagging it because they thought it was racist. I mean, just say "Alot of people seem to think this is racist."

A lot of people flagged the two posts. Some of them used the offensive/sexism/racism flag, some used the breaks the guidelines flag, a few used "other". Of the ones who used the o/s/r flag, I have no way of knowing who found it generically offensive as in "I'm offended by the lame-assness of this post"—I know anecdotally that some folks do so—and who found it racist; I'm guess there was a mix of motivations.

It wouldn't have been dishonest to express in the deletion reason that some folks probably thought it was racist—obviously, opinions are mixed here—but I think it would have been a little shit-stirry to make that a focus of the deletion reason. That's both because it'd seem to me like a claim to some racecard trump for what I really just thought was mostly not a great post, and also because the last thing I want to do is incautiously suggest that the poster, fucker, deserved some implication of racism in making what I presume they just thought was a funny post. So the choice between calling it lame and calling it racist was pretty clear to me, and I'm kinda put out that Buzzfeed came (by whatever means) to the characterization that "Tagged as Rascist" is the story here.

I thought it was lame. I think a fair number of posts are lame, but I generally stay away from deleting them just because of that; if it's not brain-searingly shitty on the face of it (and as much as I'm not really impressed with it, I don't think this site is such), we'll often let it breath and see how folks react. In this case, folks reacted by flagging it a whole bunch: okay, I appear not to be nuts with my "this is lame" reaction. Deleted. Repeat.

Process, historically, breaks down more or less like this, on average:

1. Admin(s) think post is lame but not slam-dunk deletable? Post gets watched.
2. 1 + a bunch of negative flags? Post gets deleted.
3. 1 + 2 + someone strongly disagrees with deletion? Metatalk gets posted.
-----
4a. 1 + 2 + 3 + thread uninamously declares that deletion was completely bizarre? Post gets restored.
4b. 1 + 2 + 3 + response to metatalk thread is mixed? Post probably not getting restored.

If Matt felt the deletion was really out of line, he could decide to restore the post, and it'd be no skin off my back; he and Jessamyn and I aren't always unanimous on stuff. But this feels more like a 4b than a 4a to me; Matt's on the record as thinking it's funnier than I do but didn't seem to feel particularly strongly about it either; so, eh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:38 PM on February 15, 2008


An interesting essay on the concept of "blackness" that has some relevence here.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:40 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whether you think the writing is funny or not, in many cases it pretty clearly differentiates between racial whiteness and cultural whiteness. For example:

But what about the white people who study Science, Engineering or Business [as opposed to the arts]? Unless they become doctors, they essentially lose white person status (and can only be regained by working at a non-profit).

If you read that as discussing racial whiteness, it's not only unfunny, but nonsensical. (The joke there isn't even really class related.)

Whether it's funny or not is one thing, but I don't think the blog is necessarily racist. Cultural whiteness isn't exclusive to Caucasians, nor are all Caucasians culturally white (see Bill Clinton for an example of the latter). Mobunited's post in the second deleted thread nails it, I think--

It kind of straddles the border between being funny and being crypto-conservative, which is quite clever, because white people don't like pointing out right wing rhetoric when it's dressed up in race.

You can read "white" in that sentence any way you prefer. Which is quite clever.
posted by Prospero at 12:41 PM on February 15, 2008


svenskemus, I think you're about as wrong on the definition of satire as you possibly can be, but I will clarify one point: satire can be "racist" and still be acceptable, to me or to any given audience. Niggers vs. Black People is the first example that springs to mind. Racism isn't in and of itself the essence of offensive evil. It's just often used as a tool of offensive, evil forces.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:44 PM on February 15, 2008


As for similar stuff done well, the Black People Love Us site is excellent.

That site is like what aliens would think white people were like if they only watched McDonald's commercials from the 1980s. Sure, that's funny in its own way too, and maybe I hang out with the wrong white people, but I don't know real people that BPLU is supposed to be satirizing, but I know plenty that remind me of SWPL.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:45 PM on February 15, 2008


Good call on the racial vs. cultural whiteness breakdown, Prospero. Very useful concept I've not thought of in a while.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:46 PM on February 15, 2008


"If one does not intend to limit a statement, one wouldn't put in a limiting term."

Thanks. Often, I find myself trying to convince someone of something that I see as incredibly obvious and inarguable, and while they won't take my word for it, the addition of a Latin phrase makes them accept it as common sense.

Which is dumb, but true.

This also goes along with a reasoning exercise that my father has his rhetoric students do with advertisements, and it's appalling to see how many of them believe that an ad making an intentional implication stands in for proof of a concept.
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 PM on February 15, 2008


Especially with medical ads and implied comparisons.
posted by klangklangston at 12:48 PM on February 15, 2008


I found the site offensive -- to comedy.

I dunno, I guess lazy "women like shopping lol"-type humour just doesn't turn my crank.
posted by loiseau at 12:48 PM on February 15, 2008


A lot of people flagged the two posts.

And they were all some lame-ass honky haystacks, aghast that the neighbors had clearly been peeking in. On the plus side, it was time to go blinds shopping, as they could not live with window treatments that had been manhandled by God knows whom.
posted by yerfatma at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


^^Louche elitist bourgeoisie burgher!^^
posted by Mister_A at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2008


svenskemus, I think you're about as wrong on the definition of satire as you possibly can be

I don't know. Maybe. Wikipedia, which of course isn't always the greatest resource but also rarely the worst in the world, says:

In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with an intent to bring about improvement.

I think the Stuff White People Like blog fits that description. I don't think "black people like watermelon" fits.

Also, I've noticed that people tend to put an extra n in my username. It's no big deal but I wish they wouldn't. This is not meant as directed towards you personally, Ambrosia Voyeur. I just needed to get it out of my system.
posted by sveskemus at 12:53 PM on February 15, 2008


MetaFilter: It's No Big Deal But I Wish They Wouldn't.
posted by Mister_A at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2008


I just want to say one more time that one reason for deleting it, regardless of whether or not it was racist, is because it was worded to suggest that it's accepted that Metafilter is/should be composed ONLY of people who identify with the site. I think we should be more welcoming.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:04 PM on February 15, 2008


I agree, onlyconnect. Also, the damn thing had been posted and deleted several times before.
posted by sveskemus at 1:06 PM on February 15, 2008


I would just like to add that as a poor person, I know what's best for me -- more of your money. Paypal chris at vginc.net.

TIA
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:10 PM on February 15, 2008


When did we get so political about things being deleted? If something isn't very good, it gets deleted.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:16 PM on February 15, 2008


An interesting essay on the concept of "blackness" that has some relevence here.

I read the article, missing the author's name in gray font, disagreeing along the way, and get to the bottom, and what do you know. McWhorter.

I agree this has relevance here, because this article is just as lame as the post was. Probably lamer.
posted by cashman at 1:17 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm a white person and I don't like recycling.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:20 PM on February 15, 2008


is because it was worded to suggest that it's accepted that Metafilter is/should be composed ONLY of people who identify with the site. I think we should be more welcoming.

Oh barf. Because non-members are too dense to understand it's not all white people here? Actually, upon reflection, I thought that was true.
posted by yerfatma at 1:24 PM on February 15, 2008


So, sveskemus, "Black people like junk food," would?

I guess I think you're putting a lot of stock in the "with an intent to bring about improvement" part. Whereas there's not much to culturally critique about watermelon-eating, more serious racist generalizations with an understood implicit critique, like "Mexicans do lazy thing" or "Asians do vain consumerist thing," would count, for you, as satire than a more incoherent generalization like Asians like chewing gum? If that's what you're saying, I get it, but what I'm not really getting, though really I just skimmed the website, is how the white people's foibles are being exposed in order to be rectified on this site, or whether you're positing that it's less racist (keeping with as value-neutral a use of the term as possible) than a comparable website about how lazy Mexicans are. (Ask A Mexican is of course, out there for assessment.)

I think I read you wrong, at first, but I still think "Asians love chewing gum" could wind up being as much a satire as "White people love recycling," it's just a matter of finding the right context for the joke, and wouldn't necessarily satire the race in question, but racism itself. Satirizing a race or a race's perceived attributes is definitely trickier to pull off than satirizing racism, and that's maybe the difference between this site and the Black People Love Us one.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:25 PM on February 15, 2008


And my cat's name is Sven, sorry.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:26 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm willing to bet every single person who flagged that post masturbates to NPR podcasts, into empty Starbucks cups.
posted by Eideteker at 1:27 PM on February 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


OMG Eideteker is watching me!
posted by Mister_A at 1:28 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Has anyone actually done demographic research on Metafilter?

The most recent information that I know of is from fvw's 2004 survey. It's from before signups were re-opened, so it's a picture of a much smaller Metafilter. The results are discussed here. The survey doesn't speak to ethnicity, however, and was from a self-selecting pool of respondents, etc. etc. Fatally flawed, particularly for the purposes at hand, Captain Haddock, but still interesting.
posted by mumkin at 1:33 PM on February 15, 2008


I learned that white people like marijuana. This was something I had long suspected, and am happy to see that my notion has been vindicated. I like learning things.
posted by sageleaf at 1:34 PM on February 15, 2008




i'm only stopping because i have to; the library is closing.
posted by youarenothere at 1:44 PM on February 15, 2008


The fact that I locked Cortex in his locker and he started to cry is all the evidence I need that the mods have no sense of humor about themselves.

What's the matter, crybaby? Do you want to call your mother?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:45 PM on February 15, 2008


I think I read you wrong, at first, but I still think "Asians love chewing gum" could wind up being as much a satire as "White people love recycling," it's just a matter of finding the right context for the joke, and wouldn't necessarily satire the race in question, but racism itself. Satirizing a race or a race's perceived attributes is definitely trickier to pull off than satirizing racism, and that's maybe the difference between this site and the Black People Love Us one.

I think the problem is that for some people, if the [foo] in "People of a certain group like [foo]" is inaccurate, then it's not funny. And I don't mean 100% accurate, I just mean something that you can notice about a group of people. Do Black people like watermelon? Not that I've noticed. Do Asians love chewing gum? I have no idea. Do white people love recycling? Well, I don't have hard numbers, but I know what he's talking about.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:49 PM on February 15, 2008


I learned that white people like marijuana.

Do you have any?
posted by waraw at 1:50 PM on February 15, 2008


Wow, youarenothere, when you spam the site's Top 25 like that, it...really does seem like it's LOLLIB'RULS after all. Awesome, thanks!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:51 PM on February 15, 2008


I really disagree that "white people" equals "upper-middle-class-urban-dwelling" is true. If you mean "umcud" then say it. This blog does not say that. This blog says "white people". I can understand how some people have decided that is how they will read it, but it's still absolutely not what is said.

If I collect behavior often associated with poor inner city culture, can I say "All black people" are like this?

And it's not because I'm worried about oppressing white people. I, in general, really disagree about linking race to class in an unqualified manner. Because, even though it might be true in many cases, it definitely is not true in all cases. There are many white people and many black people and many people of all races in all sorts of different classes. Issues of race are complicated and issues of class are complicated and I think it does us no favors to confuse the two.
posted by mosessis at 1:51 PM on February 15, 2008


you only need enough users (I don't know, 20 or 30 on a user's base of more than 50,000) to flag something because it offends their delicate sensibilities, and *poof* the post's gone.

it's called working the refs, and it works, it always does. it's essentially rule by mob, which means that what remains on the page instead, can be happily lame, milquetoasty, inoffensive, uninteresting. say, collections of youtube links of bands/films mostly everyone has already heard of. it's the triumph of the middlebrow, the politically correct, the generally stolid. this was MeFi turns into digg with the occasional interesting parts deleted.


but I thought the stuffwhitepeoplelike site was funny and all the people crying "racist!" in the thread sound like people that can't laugh at themselves or mainstream white culture. Of course the entries on the site are ridiculous generalizations, that doesn't mean they're not true often times.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I really love mathowie. I really do.


And my cat's name is Sven


Aryan cat!

I'm willing to bet every single person who flagged that post masturbates to NPR podcasts, into empty Starbucks cups.

no, the cups are full. then someone accidentally drinks it, like in American Pie
posted by matteo at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2008


Matteo, I thought you only watched movies no one else had ever seen. Movies from before the very dawn of history itself!!!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:55 PM on February 15, 2008


I should point out that black people also like marijuana. Bob Marley was black I think. Asians hate the sweet Mary Jane.
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on February 15, 2008


I hate myself now that that blog so wryly underscored all of my solipsistic hedonism. I will kill myself, and my fixie-riding cat, in 90 days. Her extremely rare miniature Bianchi San Jose goes to Mathowie.
posted by everichon at 1:59 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter does operate, to some extent, specifically in the flagged as offensive/noice/HITLER arena, by heckler's veto. I am not sure that's altogether a bad thing, and I especially don't think that users conspire to flag posts to ensure their removal.

I do cringe a touch when the only justification for a deletion is "the post was flagged to hell" because I hate (and have litigated) the heckler's veto. But this is not a public forum, and flagging exists to alert the mods to something that someone thinks should go away. If, then the mods agree, "Yes. This is offensive, a double, HITLER, or racist. I should delete it," then we're okay. If, instead, the mod thought process is "Twenty people don't like this, and I disagree, I think it's fine, but I'll delete it because twenty people say no," then we're in dangerous heckler's veto, minority tyranny land. My read of things is that usually, deletions are mod judgment calls, not, with rare exception, mod capitulation to small groups of vocal mefites.

Also: when 20 or 30 or 50 or 100 users flag a post, it's not out of 50,000. It's out of the much, much smaller number of members with accounts who read the posts while logged in.
posted by kosem at 2:01 PM on February 15, 2008


Everyone likes marijuana.
posted by kosem at 2:02 PM on February 15, 2008


It's been said again and again, hell I said it above, but Christ on a pogostick, people who think the only way this site could be racist is by being anti-whitey are totally fucking clueless.
posted by aspo at 2:04 PM on February 15, 2008


Asians hate the sweet Mary Jane.

Hey, now. I'm 3/32 Chinese and I think MJ is just fine.
posted by rtha at 2:05 PM on February 15, 2008


And they were all some lame-ass honky haystacks, aghast that the neighbors had clearly been peeking in. On the plus side, it was time to go blinds shopping, as they could not live with window treatments that had been manhandled by God knows whom.

My ex-girlfriend's black co-worker once asked her why white people always keep their curtains open.

Another gem from her office: "Celebration" comes on the radio, and somebody calls out, "Okay! It's time for all the white people to get up and dance!" Comedy gold.

On the other hand, a site full of lame jokes build around lamer straw-man premises about weak cultural generalizations pretty much sucks. America is around 75% white, so it's pretty damn easy to pick out something from our overall general culture, say it's white, and pass it off as biting satire. "What's the deal with white people and _______ anyhow? _______ sucks, right? If you ever meet a white person talk about _______." Insert pretty much anything in the blank: cats, balancing your checkbook, woodworking classes, fantasy novels, mixtapes, Energy Star ratings on appliances, Latin phrases, etc. It practically writes itself.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:06 PM on February 15, 2008


From now on, when I want to discuss the urban poor, following the argument put forth here, I'm going to say "Black people."

"a large group of hegemonic people like to appear to be doing good for society whilst not actually really doing much." Saying "black people like watermelon" is just a generalization without any other meaning that I can tell.


What about "Black people like violent crime"? It's social criticism of a large group of people and statistically true in relation to other prevalent racial categorizations.

Lame site perpetrating tribalism and in a way Metafilter would not be able to deal with consistently. Deleted.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:09 PM on February 15, 2008


people who think the only way this site could be racist is by being anti-whitey are totally fucking clueless.

Quoted for truth.
posted by mosessis at 2:09 PM on February 15, 2008


I don't know any Mexicans so I couldn't really say if a majority of them are actually lazy. I suspect they're not but as I said I don't really know. If they really are I would think "Mexicans are lazy" could be good satire just like I think a lot of the stuff on the Stuff People Like blog is good satire. It makes me recognize myself and laugh. And that, I think, can hopefully bring about improvement. (I really loved the knowing what's best for poor people post, for example. Also, "white people will wait up to 40 minutes for a good sandwich" literally made me LOL because I totally do that and when you think of it it really is stupid.)

And "black people like junk food" sure could make good satire if done right. But it would be really, really hard because people tend to be more sensitive about negative things said about black people than about white people. (And for good reason too I think.)
posted by sveskemus at 2:11 PM on February 15, 2008


Asians hate the sweet Mary Jane.

Asians hate alcohol. This one is actually in their genes, although apparently not in Japan or they just power through it and get wasted anyway.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:12 PM on February 15, 2008


Also: when 20 or 30 or 50 or 100 users flag a post, it's not out of 50,000. It's out of the much, much smaller number of members with accounts who read the posts while logged in.

Really, it's the even smaller number of members within that group who look at that particular post. matteo, you can call it working the refs and pin it all (for the umpteenth time) on Matt's bank account, but we both leave up genuinely controversial stuff and delete middlebrow, tepid shit on a regular basis—and my objection to this link was that it was in the latter bucket, not the former. It's not all some corporate whitewash, no matter how much pleasure invoking that image seems to bring you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:13 PM on February 15, 2008


"Do Black people like watermelon? Not that I've noticed."

They sure as hell do, or at least the vast majority of black people that I've known. Also, the vast majority of white people.

Because watermelon is fucking good as hell.
posted by klangklangston at 2:15 PM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


"If they really are I would think "Mexicans are lazy" could be good satire just like I think a lot of the stuff on the Stuff People Like blog is good satire."

This may help you with your "satire" problems.
posted by klangklangston at 2:16 PM on February 15, 2008


They sure as hell do, or at least the vast majority of black people that I've known. Also, the vast majority of white people.

ummmmyeah, that's why I didn't notice it.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2008


people who think the only way this site could be racist is by being anti-whitey are totally fucking clueless.

And as I said upstream, this is the sort of "racism" that would get posted on White Whine. This site isn't racist. Calling it racist is "fucking clueless".
posted by chunking express at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2008


I think it's alright that groups who have historically been (and to some extent still are) discriminated against are more sensitive to racism than others.
posted by sveskemus at 2:20 PM on February 15, 2008


klangklangston, I'm sorry but I don't really understand that link. I get that he's some kind of comedian but since I have never heard of him before I don't really know what you mean to say by linking to him.
posted by sveskemus at 2:23 PM on February 15, 2008


Stuff White People Like re: Sarah Silverman

Her whole shtick is about saying really offensive things! But it’s ok because she’s pretty and has a small voice so it all sounds so cute! Get it? It’s not offensive, because when she says racist or sexist things she knows they are offensive. So it’s ok.

Is it just me, or does the site in question criticize right there the sort of racism-as-satire approach that the site in question uses?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:25 PM on February 15, 2008


It's not all some corporate whitewash, no matter how much pleasure invoking that image seems to bring you.

I find that image unreasonably hilarious.

"Oh yeah, whitewash me! Yeah, yeah, that's it! Show me where to stick it, you corporate overlord you! Yes! Delete me! DELEEETE MEEE!!"
posted by aramaic at 2:26 PM on February 15, 2008


You're getting me all hot, now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:29 PM on February 15, 2008


chunking: you are totally missing my point. I'm not saying the site is racist. (I think it is, unintentionally so, but hey different people have different ideas about what is racism) I'm saying that statements like

I thought the stuffwhitepeoplelike site was funny and all the people crying "racist!" in the thread sound like people that can't laugh at themselves or mainstream white culture.

don't address the issue of "is this racist" because it's not seeing the reason people might legitimately see racism.
posted by aspo at 2:30 PM on February 15, 2008


I miss quonsar.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:30 PM on February 15, 2008


I think we need an apology to white people here.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:32 PM on February 15, 2008


Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.

class is not your taxes this year. Class is the household you grew up in, your education level and your projected salary over your lifetime on this career path. Class has more to do with whether you have a passport and whether you think of paying someone else to cook or clean (ie, going to a restaurant, drop off laundry, etc) as indulgent or normal behavior, than exactly what your current rent is.
posted by mdn at 2:32 PM on February 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


So, if What White People Like is okay, can we start using "I'd hit it" again ironically?
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:33 PM on February 15, 2008


klangklangston, I'm sorry but I don't really understand that link. I get that he's some kind of comedian but since I have never heard of him before I don't really know what you mean to say by linking to him.

Erm, Carlos Mencia is a racist mexian. It's not Satire, though. He's just a racist making racist jokes.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on February 15, 2008


(oops, Mencia his from Honduras and his father was a German)
posted by delmoi at 2:35 PM on February 15, 2008


Thanks, delmoi. I was guessing that might have been the case but I sort of hoped it wasn't. (The part about him being a racist, not the part about being from Honduras with a German father!)

klangklangston, did you miss the part where I said that I don't think Mexicans are lazy but that it would be satire if it were true?
posted by sveskemus at 2:39 PM on February 15, 2008


They sure as hell do, or at least the vast majority of black people that I've known. Also, the vast majority of white people.

Because watermelon is fucking good as hell.


True story-- I am a white person renting a room from a black family. Earlier today, I went to put my 2-liter of Diet Coke in the fridge, but someone had put a bunch of watermelon on the top shelf, and I had a hard time getting the Coke to fit.

The fun stereotypical implications hadn't occurred to me until reading your comment, kkston.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:40 PM on February 15, 2008


you know what other racist had a German father?
posted by dubold at 2:42 PM on February 15, 2008


Asians hate alcohol. This one is actually in their genes, although apparently not in Japan or they just power through it and get wasted anyway.

Uh, no. Asians are more likely to be missing a particular gene that helps metabolize alcohol, but the majority of Asians can drink it just fine.
posted by delmoi at 2:45 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm trying to compile my own list of things white people like, but the only thing I can think of is interest-bearing checking.
posted by malocchio at 2:46 PM on February 15, 2008


"klangklangston, I'm sorry but I don't really understand that link. I get that he's some kind of comedian but since I have never heard of him before I don't really know what you mean to say by linking to him."

YOU ARE IN THE IRONY ZONE.
posted by klangklangston at 2:49 PM on February 15, 2008


I doubt this opinion is even the slightest bit unique — but I just find it interesting (not offensive, just interesting) how humor generalizing almost any ethnicity or skin color is considered by the majority to be morally reprehensible. Well, except for one skin color, and it's apparently always entirely okay to make humorous generalizations about them.

Hey, did you ever notice how all black men ... RACIST!
Hey, did you ever notice how all Asian chicks ... RACIST!
Hey, did you ever notice how all white people ... Aw, this oughta be good!

But, you know, as a member of the ruling class of the world pulling the strings behind all of the existing power structures, I really oughta just take it in good humor ...

Mwa.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

Dance, my puppets, dance!

In all seriousness, I'm not that uptight about it. Theoretically, I do find myself resenting the inherent hypocrisy of the above and thus don't mind snarking about it in a one-off MeTa comment, but it doesn't occupy a lot of my day-to-day brainspace.
posted by WCityMike at 2:50 PM on February 15, 2008


White people I have met who like James Thurber: 4
Non-white people I have met who like James Thurber: 0

I am so starting a website.
posted by everichon at 2:50 PM on February 15, 2008



I'm trying to compile my own list of things white people like, but the only thing I can think of is interest-bearing checking.


What about long, whiny threads?
posted by tkolar at 2:52 PM on February 15, 2008


I don't know any Mexicans so I couldn't really say if a majority of them are actually lazy. I suspect they're not but as I said I don't really know. If they really are I would think "Mexicans are lazy" could be good satire

Think about it this way. The "Mexicans are lazy" idea likely comes from two things, Americans' experiences traveling through Mexico where there's a lot of unemployment, and their experiences hiring Mexican or Mexican-American labor here in the States. Either way, it's comes from a position of economic advantage, it's a derogatory stereotype, and it's a long way from satire, good or bad.

It's interesting that as the immigration debate continues here, more people are learning about the economic realities of both legal and illegal immigrants, who often work undesirable jobs for long hours for close to or under minimum wage, without much in way of legal protection or union representation. The "lazy" image going away, and you'll often hear "hard-working" instead. While not derogatory, it's still from a position of economic advantage.

I haven't seen it, but this movie looks like a pretty good concept for a satire about Mexicans working in the US.

Of course, a lot of Latinos consider themselves to be white. Can we add cumbia and telenovelas to "Stuff White People Like?"
posted by hydrophonic at 2:53 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm trying to compile my own list of things white people like, but the only thing I can think of is interest-bearing checking.

Whereas black people don't like interesting-bearing checking because they have no money!

And when I say black people, I mean people of a lower socio-economic class. But when I say "black people," it's funny.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:54 PM on February 15, 2008


Oh, other people were talking upthread about flagging 'lame' stuff. I regularly flag posts I think are lame as "other", but hardly anything ever happens to 'em.
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on February 15, 2008


Let me just re-state here that I do not have any reason to believe that most Mexicans are lazy. [NOT LAZYIST]

YOU ARE IN THE IRONY ZONE.

Oh, alright.
posted by sveskemus at 2:57 PM on February 15, 2008


"I'd hit it"

March 14th.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Arn't asians just the other white people?

[ducks]
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2008


I just lost the game.
posted by sveskemus at 3:04 PM on February 15, 2008


On the other hand, a site full of lame jokes build around lamer straw-man premises about weak cultural generalizations pretty much sucks. America is around 75% white, so it's pretty damn easy to pick out something from our overall general culture, say it's white, and pass it off as biting satire. "What's the deal with white people and _______ anyhow? _______ sucks, right? If you ever meet a white person talk about _______." Insert pretty much anything in the blank: cats, balancing your checkbook, woodworking classes, fantasy novels, mixtapes, Energy Star ratings on appliances, Latin phrases, etc. It practically writes itself.

Oh come on. Just because the person didn't pick the most accurate name for their website doesn't mean that all the things that you listed even make sense. The things listed on SWPL are describing a very particular subset of white people: middle class, college educated white people around 35 years old. It does a good job at satirizing THOSE white people, even if it's not broadcasting that subset in the title of the website.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:04 PM on February 15, 2008


Whereas black people don't like interesting-bearing checking because they have no money!

Oh yeah, it's that whole exclusion thing again. Wow, this stuff is harder than it looks, but I meant no offense.

My other thought was "anything laminated," but that's probably just me.
posted by malocchio at 3:07 PM on February 15, 2008


This might be funny in a few places if it didn't have the weird back-handed cryptoconservative logic going on, and it if didn't rely on an implied assumption the traits it's describing are entirely alien to readers who aren't white. It seems to go beyond "white people are superficially concerned with social justice" or even "all these white people think it's hip to be all about social justice." In some places it's really suggesting "white people, stop feeling guilty about poverty-- poor people are poor because of their bad choices, it has nothing to do with you."

Has the term "yuppie" died out entirely? That is the closest word I can come up with to what this describes.

class is not your taxes this year.

So true. I don't even try to point this out to people anymore. Being from working class and slowly moving into middle class makes this kind of misconception a jarring everyday experience. I am so exhausted of defining the word "poverty" to my friends who use it as shorthand for "not making as much money as I'd like." None of my friends in grad school are poor, but most of them think they are.

The other things you mention are familiar too. It's a weird transition.
posted by Tehanu at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2008


So, this got deleted because cortex didn't think it was funny enough? Or what?
posted by chrismear at 12:28 PM on February 15 [+] [!]


It was deleted because a lot of people reflexively find racism where there is none and hit flag. Oh, and because Cortex didn't think it was funny.

Anyway, there are far more lame links on MetaFilter all the time, right now even (and no I am not going to name names as it isn't nice to go calling other people's posts lame). This was a bad deletion.
posted by caddis at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2008


Hey mathowie, thanks for the "remove from recent activity" button!
posted by Skorgu at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Quick everybody, let's find another post that Skorgu has commented in and continue the discussion there!
posted by sveskemus at 3:14 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


The crap in that genre of "stereotype humour" is achieves the rarity of being both boring and offensive for the following reasons:

1) It's spurious, generalist BS that applies to a small number of people living an extraordinarily privileged existence compared to the rest of the world, so those who supposedly fit the template (in this case, "white") and don't meet the stereotype are then lumped in with a bunch of gits they don't identify with for 90% of their existential details whenever they meet someone who has read such a thing and felt there must be some kernel of truth in the steaming turd of stereotype.

This, of course, complicates communication and ability to identify with one another based on more reality-based parameters, like shared backgrounds or interests.

2) It continues trade in stereotypes (duh), which undermine the ability of people to cross between cultures, something which can bring great joy and enrichment to anyone willing to give it a go. Declaring an experience as something only "whites" do, for example, makes it more likely for a non-white person who enjoys that thing to be ridiculed for it or to even limit their exposure to possibilities of having to defend their interest.

Getting folks to recycle is hard enough. Do we really want to frame it as something only stuck-up honkeys like to do?

I'm sure it's funny to those who haven't been in either position, I'm sure. But, damn, have a heart for the rest of the folks out there who didn't grow up easy or prefer a life less constrained by such ridiculous and assumptive boundaries.
posted by batmonkey at 3:18 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


i should not post in MeTa when distracted. yikes. pardon the mess, but i hope the gist of it comes through.
posted by batmonkey at 3:20 PM on February 15, 2008


Getting folks to recycle is hard enough. Do we really want to frame it as something only stuck-up honkeys like to do?

Oh, come on. I mean, really.
posted by milarepa at 3:25 PM on February 15, 2008


March 14th.

You've mentioned the counter enough that I am totally calling you on going through with it if it ever expires.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:27 PM on February 15, 2008


And no cheating by resetting it yourself or getting someone to reset it for you.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:28 PM on February 15, 2008


So, it seems like we're not really in agreement over whether the level of derogation in a generalization influences its racistness or its propensity for satire. Super, I'll take this chance to say Armenians are the best cooks, Jews are the best lays, and Indians are just plain awesome.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2008


"Oh, come on. I mean, really."

Your point is...?

If you're saying my point is invalid, you're welcome to come on down to my neighbourhood and have the conversation about recycling I just had with some chicks from the complex across the way. Only reason that was an example.

If you're saying that stuck-up honkeys really are the only people who want recycling (beyond the re-use part, which is sometimes frowned upon but generally accepted, as long as it's not obvious that's where you've obtained something), same invitation applies.
posted by batmonkey at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2008


Metafilter is lower-middle class at best. Lots of poor grad students and such here.

Oh. God. Stop it. Stop looking at your W2 like that means anything. What do your parents make?
Graduate degrees are hardly symptomatic with downward mobility and lower middle status.

This "oh us poor graduate students" meme has just got to fucking die. Y'all act like your toiling in the cotton fields or something.
posted by tkchrist at 3:33 PM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


hydrophonic, I always thought the "mexican = lazy" meme was much older, from the early european introduction to the siesta.
posted by nomisxid at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2008


I'd like to point out that this thread and this thread have been pacing each other in comment count for a while now, which is really kind of driving me crazy because it means I can't readily tell which one is which just by glancing at the number of comments listed at the top of their respective Recent Activity entries. Which is totally bullshit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:35 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm sure it's funny to those who haven't been in either position, I'm sure. But, damn, have a heart for the rest of the folks out there who didn't grow up easy or prefer a life less constrained by such ridiculous and assumptive boundaries.

"Y'know, I really really want to like tea, but then I found a website that said that white people like tea, which means that I can't like it, so I threw out all my tea.

I THREW OUT MY TEA BECAUSE OF PEER-PRESSURE FROM A WEBSITE"
posted by 23skidoo at 3:36 PM on February 15, 2008


So, it seems like we're not really in agreement over whether the level of derogation in a generalization influences its racistness or its propensity for satire. Super, I'll take this chance to say Armenians are the best cooks, Jews are the best lays, and Indians are just plain awesome.

Was that supposed to be offensive or funny, I can't really tell. Because to me it was neither. But maybe that was the point?
posted by sveskemus at 3:40 PM on February 15, 2008


Wow, Bill Clinton is "culturally black"? Is that because he plays the saxophone?
posted by oneirodynia at 3:41 PM on February 15, 2008


No, it's because of the massive gold chains.
posted by sveskemus at 3:42 PM on February 15, 2008


If you're saying my point is invalid, you're welcome to come on down to my neighbourhood and have the conversation about recycling I just had with some chicks from the complex across the way.

Really, those girls from the complex across the way said that?! I totally take it back. You're right.
posted by milarepa at 3:43 PM on February 15, 2008


No, it's because of the massive gold chains.

I thought it was becuase there was huge conspiracy of uptight rich white playa haters trying to take him down.
posted by tkchrist at 3:45 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow, Bill Clinton is "culturally black"? Is that because he plays the saxophone?

You'll notice that I didn't mention blackness anywhere in my post--I merely claim that Bill Clinton isn't considered culturally white in the way that the blog under discussion seeks to define it. The idea that if one isn't culturally white one must therefore be culturally black is a false dichotomy.
posted by Prospero at 3:54 PM on February 15, 2008


The things listed on SWPL are describing a very particular subset of white people: middle class, college educated white people around 35 years old. It does a good job at satirizing THOSE white people, even if it's not broadcasting that subset in the title of the website.

It's not just the website title that's going on about white people, it's the entire basis of their shtick. Every post ends with recommendations on how to interact with white people. They repeatedly fall back on the premise that the writers and audience are not white, and therefore not middle class and college educated.

Try talking to someone who teaches low-income black kids, and you'll get a sense of how damaging that idea can be. (There I go again, worrying about poor people.)
posted by hydrophonic at 3:54 PM on February 15, 2008


March 14th.

You've mentioned the counter enough that I am totally calling you on going through with it if it ever expires.


Since I only read through the first 95,000 comments in the sexism threads, could someone explain the 'I'd hit it' counter to me? I missed out on what that's about.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:54 PM on February 15, 2008


I always thought the "mexican = lazy" meme was much older, from the early european introduction to the siesta.

Yeah. I guess it's interesting how Northern European stereotypical beliefs about Southern Europeans get carried over into American stereotypes stereotypical beliefs about Latin Americans.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:59 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


The concept of "the unmarked category" comes to mind. Because whites are the predominant ethnic class in the US, things relating to them are just considered "regular." Meanwhile, other ethnic groups identify everything that's specific to them with special labels.

The TV channel going after the black audience is called "Black Entertainment Television."
But the Fox Network is just the Fox Network. The "White News Network" would be unthinkable.

The Radio program that addresses Latino issues is called "Latino USA."
Meanwhile the news of the predominant class is just "Morning Edition."

Black people everywhere know that The Sharper Image should really be called Crazy Shit White People Buy but no one will ever say that. You never name the unmarked category. The "ethnic food aisle" is the "ethinic food aisle." All the rest are just "food."

This is actually an insidious way of reinforcing the white hegemony. White people walk around thinking they don't even have an ethnicity. And anyone who's not white has to walk around with a label on. They're other. "I'm proud to be an Arab American." Did you ever see the PSA where the kid says "I'm proud to be a Scottish American?" You know why not? Because they never fucking made it, that's why. You're white, you're in. You're done. You don't need to say where you're from. You're regular. You're normal.

Naming the unmarked category can be really funny and totally subversive to all of this. But in this climate where white people feel that only "people of color" get to talk about race, we've gotten stupid about how the unmarked category works and pulling a link like this because it's racially offensive is actually the opposite of what one should do. You should leave up that humor site where they name the unmarked category. That works AGAINST the whole "I'm normal/you're other" thing that keeps non-whites down.

Unclench that white guilt and have a laugh.
posted by scarabic at 4:01 PM on February 15, 2008 [47 favorites]


Since I only read through the first 95,000 comments in the sexism threads, could someone explain the 'I'd hit it' counter to me? I missed out on what that's about.

jessamyn will change her name to Cooter if nobody says I'd hit it on MeTa for 30 days.
posted by sveskemus at 4:02 PM on February 15, 2008


wow - i thought the link was pretty great.
posted by bilgepump at 4:03 PM on February 15, 2008


Since I only read through the first 95,000 comments in the sexism threads, could someone explain the 'I'd hit it' counter to me?

Here you go.

Btw, does using it in quotes reset the counter?

And what about if I actually would hit it, which, you know, makes it totally satirical rather than sexist?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:05 PM on February 15, 2008


cortex - are you saying you're fine with white stereotype humor, this just wasn't a very high quality instance of it? The deletion had nothing to do with trying to be racially sensitive?

Are we filtering posts for quality now? Because I made a post about plant aquariums today and it turned out to be a pretty lame one, leaving out almost everything available online about the subject including links to various well known masters of the genre. Shouldn't that go too?
posted by scarabic at 4:06 PM on February 15, 2008


Armitage: Did you read the comment you linked to? You know, the part about 'both non-irony and irony flavors.'
posted by ssg at 4:08 PM on February 15, 2008


Armitage: Did you read the comment you linked to?

Only the first half of the sentence. I'm a very very busy man.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:10 PM on February 15, 2008


scarabic putting the word "white" before anything but "bread" has a very ominous racial supremacy connotation.
posted by tkchrist at 4:10 PM on February 15, 2008


jessamyn will change her name to Cooter if nobody says I'd hit it on MeTa for 30 days.

I can't believe I missed that! Also: IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN
posted by shakespeherian at 4:12 PM on February 15, 2008


jessamyn will change her name to Cooter if nobody says I'd hit it on MeTa for 30 days.

On the whole site actually, not just MeTa. And I'm not worried in the slightest.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:13 PM on February 15, 2008


"And when I say black people, I mean people of a lower socio-economic class. But when I say "black people," it's funny."

When I say "black people," I mean "Jews."

"Wow, Bill Clinton is "culturally black"? Is that because he plays the saxophone?
posted by oneirodynia at 3:41 PM on February 15 [+] [!]


No, it's because of the massive gold chains."


No, it's because he liked to fuck chubby white chicks.
posted by klangklangston at 4:13 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ooh! Ooh! tkchrist! I want to play!
My mom (59) is currently living in a truck outside a labour hall in Houston and showering every other day at a truck stop.

My dad (also 59) does low-end website tweaks and email campaigns in order to add to his wife's (68) substitute teacher salary.

And I'm not even a poor grad student. I grew up poor, formal education stops at 9th grade, and I've fought for every job I've had.

Let's start a thread where everyone can put their life creds up and see if anyone has a right to whatever opinions they hold. I'm sure the findings will be shocking ;]

milarepa snidely commented:
"Really, those girls from the complex across the way said that?! I totally take it back. You're right."

You can be that way if you like, that's cool. You and I will probably never meet.

Just know that it's frustrating to want to better your environment and end up having a conversation about how no one else will go along with it because it's "white" to give a damn about such things.

23skidoo also thought he was being clever when he said:
"Y'know, I really really want to like tea, but then I found a website that said that white people like tea, which means that I can't like it, so I threw out all my tea.

I THREW OUT MY TEA BECAUSE OF PEER-PRESSURE FROM A WEBSITE"


As with milarepa, you'll likely never meet me and this'll be the sum total of our interaction. I'm sure you're hilarious in person.

My sensitivity on this is heightened by the number of people in my life who wouldn't do one thing or another because it's what some other culture does and they didn't want to get laughed at, picked on, or have to explain themselves.

Anyway.

Like I say in my profile: I'm passionate and over-sensitive about some things, with stereotypes being one of them. Get shitty with me about it if you want...doesn't cancel out my experiences and why I think caring about defeating stereotypes matters.

Bah.
posted by batmonkey at 4:14 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


the thing about all this "white people are different than black people" humor is this:

it's old. Really really old. it was funny when Richard Pryor did it, sometimes. it was funny when Steve Martin did it in "The Jerk." In 1978.

Now, it's just tired, unfunny and lazy. But mostly: it is factually FALSE.

Bush employs Condi Rice, yet some people still can't let go of the "republicans are old white men" "humor." No, Republicans are evil. they are now perfectly willing to employ evil black men and even evil black women to further their agenda. They are probably encouraged to do so by knowing that white liberals will be paralyzed by fear of appearing racist, and will pardon even the most spineless, craven Bush-crony (cf Powell, Colin).

Comedians are still out there saying "white people don't get hip hop." They either don't care that what they're saying is factually false, or they haven't gone near a white person under 30 since 1981. We liked Run-DMC in the lilly-white suburb where I grew up, in the mid-80s. Except maybe the Amish and a percentage of Mormons, every white kid in the world knows hip-hop now.

The only way sites like this offend me are as a comedy writer and lover of good comedy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:16 PM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


americans + race x internet anonymity = comedy gold.
posted by modernnomad at 4:17 PM on February 15, 2008


That's your real name, right Jessamyn, not just changing your display?
posted by klangklangston at 4:19 PM on February 15, 2008


*hugs batmonkey*
posted by milarepa at 4:20 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


dubold : Not who you think. He was Austrian.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:20 PM on February 15, 2008


cortex - are you saying you're fine with white stereotype humor, this just wasn't a very high quality instance of it? The deletion had nothing to do with trying to be racially sensitive?

Um, yeah? That's pretty much what I've been saying all along. I understand that there's a low-burn racial element to some folk's reaction to it, and I'm not blind to that, but I mostly thought the post was pretty lame, not that it was particularly controversial. Not nearly as funny and bang-for-buck as some other examples that have been posted in the past and not deleted, basically.

Are we filtering posts for quality now?

We have, for a very long time—long before my tenure as a moderator—been filtering posts for quality. It's always been somewhat inconsistent; people have always disagreed with admin(s) and with one another over whether a deletion or lack thereof was justified; and it's always been true that (a) there are examples of subjectively lamer things that weren't deleted and subjectively less lame things that were, and that (b) lameness and flagging action is an probabilistic indicator, not a guarantee, of a post's shelf-life.

So, I'm sorry I didn't delete your aquarium post?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:20 PM on February 15, 2008


Yes. Batmonkey. We know. Everybody is the magic exception on the internets.
posted by tkchrist at 4:21 PM on February 15, 2008


scarabic, there's nothing specific to white people about The Sharper Image or anything on that website's list. If you don't believe me, turn on Oprah for five minutes.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:32 PM on February 15, 2008


I had to fight to keep White Whines up

Ooo, can we YouTube one of these Matt vs Jessamyn and Cortex fights? That would be FPP material for sure!

Yes, I verbed YouTube. And I just verbed verb as well. I told y'all before I wanted to action something.
posted by The Deej at 4:39 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm probably not white, I think, but the site was lame & unfunny, and definitely not post-worthy.
posted by signal at 4:40 PM on February 15, 2008


tkchrist said:
"Yes. Batmonkey. We know. Everybody is the magic exception on the internets."

Hrm. I'm not even sure how to respond to that, because I'm not quite sure how you mean it.

I'll just...uh...assume the best, I suppose.

milarepa offered hugs.

Aw, that's kind of you. Thank you. Definitely takes away some of the sting I was feeling for getting all over-invested in a conversation about a dumb site.

drjimmy11 said what I wished I'd had the sense to say.
posted by batmonkey at 4:47 PM on February 15, 2008


"dubold : Not who you think. He was Austrian."

Austrians are redneck bumpkin Germans. (Outside of maybe Vienna, which has its own identity).
posted by klangklangston at 4:47 PM on February 15, 2008


"Hrm. I'm not even sure how to respond to that, because I'm not quite sure how you mean it."

He meant that he was wrongly overgeneralizing but didn't want to apologize, so he pretended that he was still right and you were just an edge case and thus dismissable.
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on February 15, 2008


March 14th.
posted by jessamyn


So mentioning IHI in comparison to other similar phrases counts (not even ironically or anything), I gather? Any mention of the phrase? Does my obfuscated initialism count?

Not that I want to see you change your username, you're just tickling my pedantulum.
posted by blasdelf at 4:56 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Wow, Bill Clinton is "culturally black"? Is that because he plays the saxophone?

...

No, it's because of the massive gold chains.

...

I thought it was becuase there was huge conspiracy of uptight rich white playa haters trying to take him down."


I figured it was 'cause he's down with O.P.P.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:09 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, it's because he liked to fuck chubby white chicks.

Shit, so do I.
posted by jonmc at 5:21 PM on February 15, 2008


Ok everyone, let's stop all this fightin' and fussin', hold up our lighters while we sway to some feel good music that promotes peace or saving the planet or whatever the metafilter norm is and smoke some sweet MJ.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 5:24 PM on February 15, 2008


If jessamyn changes her name to cooter, I'll change my name to jessamyn. But if someone tells me they're glad to meet another jessamyn, I'm not killing myself!
posted by OmieWise at 5:24 PM on February 15, 2008


Q: Do you know white people on MetaFilter have no sense of humor?

A: No, but if you hum a few bars I can fake it!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:47 PM on February 15, 2008


Ok everyone, let's stop all this fightin' and fussin', hold up our lighters while we sway to some feel good music that promotes peace or saving the planet or whatever the metafilter norm is and smoke some sweet MJ.

*cues up "You And Your Folks, Me And my Folks." Loads bong.*
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do we really want to frame it as something only stuck-up honkeys like to do?

I always thought it was spelled "honky," so wouldn't the plural be "honkies"?
posted by amyms at 5:58 PM on February 15, 2008


Do we really want to frame it as something only stuck-up honkeys like to do?

I always thought it was spelled "honky," so wouldn't the plural be "honkies"?


Let's hear it for irony.

(sorry amyms. too easy)
posted by jonmc at 6:00 PM on February 15, 2008


I'd like to point out that this thread and this thread have been pacing each other in comment count for a while now, which is really kind of driving me crazy because it means I can't readily tell which one is which just by glancing at the number of comments listed at the top of their respective Recent Activity entries. Which is totally bullshit.

Tell it, brother. And you know what? I can't keep up with either one. And I posted one of them. Which I expected to get twelve comments. What a world we live in.

Also, I wish quonsar were here.
posted by languagehat at 6:02 PM on February 15, 2008


also: I've been called a 'whiteboy,' and a 'gringo' and (indirectly by those Black Israelite guys) a 'white devil,' but never in my 37 years on this planet have I ever been called a 'honky.' We need to using terminology from Jefferson's reruns.
posted by jonmc at 6:04 PM on February 15, 2008


We need to stop using, I mean.
posted by jonmc at 6:05 PM on February 15, 2008


Shut it paleface.
posted by Artw at 6:08 PM on February 15, 2008


I have a strange job in which I watch television for market research purposes. Tonight I drew the short straw and am currently watching the Celine Dion concert on CBS. She opened by singing "River Deep, Mountain High" while doing some kind of Riverdance.

It was the whitest thing I've ever seen.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:23 PM on February 15, 2008


Actually, I once saw Anne Murray sing 'Start Me Up,' on some TV Special. That's the whitest thing I've ever seen. That's whuter than a flourr coated ghost dipped in Clorox.
posted by jonmc at 6:27 PM on February 15, 2008


"Ooo, can we YouTube one of these Matt vs Jessamyn and Cortex fights? That would be FPP material for sure!"

Yeah, and it needs to have that Star Trek fight music for the soundtrack.
posted by Tenuki at 6:28 PM on February 15, 2008


I've been called Bolillo in Mexico a few times. Mostly in humor, I think. One time, this old guy was serenading in a restaurant, and the song he was singing had the word bolillo in it, and when he was done with the song, he came over and politely explained that he didn't mean anything by it -- it was just the way the song went, and there weren't usually any white people there. He was kind of embarrassed, but I assured him (in halting spanish) that no offense was taken.

I think I got called a honky a whole lot when I was a 4th-grader in Houston and was on one of the busses of (maybe 25?) white kids that got bussed into the fifth ward under school desegregation. That would have been in about 72 or 73. I was acutely uncomfortable there, because I WAS a scrawny honky, and was made to fear for my life.

Racism sucks. The website in the post that got deleted was just dumb, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:01 PM on February 15, 2008


No, KLANG, I was correcting a generalization made by another poster who said "Mefi was largely lower middle class" of which he has no proof and has been discussed before all indications are most American mefi's are indeed middle to upper middle class. It's grad student population would be a leading indicator claimed the poster.

And most Grad students are not from poor families. I suppose any of you can easily find cites to back that up. I'm not. And I am declaring victory anyway.

Sigh. And then batmonkey piped up about something he was the son of trucker or something or what the fuck ever that had nothing to do with what I said. the main thrust is he pointed out he wasn't a grad student - which is what I was talking about. Thus making him exempt on all counts from my statement anyway

So. To recap. "Mefi is mostly lower middle class and Grad students..." Which is self contradictory and absurd on both counts. And I... oh god... what's the fucking use.

Your all poor hard working salt of the earth sons and daughters of Austrian rednecks who don't golf and shouldn't generalize blah blah blah etc... etc...
posted by tkchrist at 7:07 PM on February 15, 2008


Then I apologize for misreading what I thought was an uncharitable dismissal.
posted by klangklangston at 7:30 PM on February 15, 2008


It boggles my mind that some of you find this website racist.

Racism is propagated by white people against people of color. Racism is a product of white supremacy. Claiming that someone is "racist" against white people is to appropriate the term in a very sinister way.

Prejudice without power is not racism.

posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:48 PM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


And I find myself in complete agreement with tkchrist, which indicates that I'm probably dreaming this whole thread and will retain no memory of it upon waking.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:50 PM on February 15, 2008


Baby Balrog.

There is ONLY one kind of racism. And it means hating somebody because of the color of their ethnicity. Period. White. Black. It doesn't matter.

I have had the shit beat out of me for having what skin at the wrong time. I know every time I got soccer kicked one of them said "Fucking White Faggot!" They had power over me by ganging up on me four to one (hell back then at 15 I weighed maybe 110lbs soaking wet and these were grown men) and kicking the shit out of me for who I was and how I looked. Period.

I don't know what you would call that but racism.

Racism is propagated by white people against people of color

That shit is just insulting, man. With bullshit like this out there no wonder nothing changes.
posted by tkchrist at 7:58 PM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Then I apologize for misreading what I thought was an uncharitable dismissal.

No problem.
posted by tkchrist at 7:59 PM on February 15, 2008


Claiming that someone is "racist" against white people is to appropriate the term in a very sinister way.

So call it 'bigotry,' then, something I think that no intelligent person on earth will diagree is present in people of every race, creed or color. I fully understand what you mean about political power making white-on-black prejudice a horse of a different color, but it's counterproductive to dismiss other people's experiences of bigotry that directly affected them and causes unneccessary resentment that has often set back the fight against racism, IMHO.
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on February 15, 2008


Hey! I DO like "Bust a Move"!

I didn't think it was any lamer than 95% of what else passes for humour on the internet. I will say though that it made me itch, just because to me, when anybody is making fun of white folks, it's an implicit euphemism for "dork."

And, yeah: I like a lot of that stuff.

I hope wine coolers were mentioned on the .org version.
posted by melodie at 8:08 PM on February 15, 2008


Do they even make wine coolers anymore? Most of the fruit-flavored booze i see is labeled 'flavored malt beverage.'
posted by jonmc at 8:11 PM on February 15, 2008


sveskemus writes "jessamyn will change her name to Cooter if nobody says I'd hit it on MeTa for 30 days."

The other thread is closed so I'm just throw in here that like psmeasly I didn't get the sexual use of this term. Cooter instead conjures up the image of an ace mechanic.

batmonkey writes "My sensitivity on this is heightened by the number of people in my life who wouldn't do one thing or another because it's what some other culture does and they didn't want to get laughed at, picked on, or have to explain themselves."

Well this at least I can relate to. I so want to put that neon stuff under my car; only the negative association with the F&F crowd holds me back.

Baby_Balrog writes "Prejudice without power is not racism."

Geez, if some someone refuses to serve me, or puts the beat down on me because I'm walking in the wrong neighbourhood or something and it's because they think I'm white it racism.
posted by Mitheral at 8:18 PM on February 15, 2008


Baby Balrog, your statement implies that non-white against non-white racial prejudices aren't racist. That's completely preposterous. Racism is racial prejudices and racial generalizations. Sexism is sex-based generalizations. Ageism is age-based generalizations. Imbuing the term with one particular and obviously notable power struggle benefits no one. Why claim racism is only about white supremacy? It's shocking to me to read that. "Whiteness" as a cultural or racial identifier could vanish off the face of the earth and there would still be Chinese stereotyping Blacks and Blacks stereotyping Jews etc. etc. ad infinitum.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:24 PM on February 15, 2008


Nice. Now we can argue semantics!
posted by chunking express at 8:36 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


You guys you guys you guys you guys.

ONLY WHITE PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS
posted by shakespeherian at 8:45 PM on February 15, 2008


Process, historically, breaks down more or less like this, on average:

1. Admin(s) think post is lame but not slam-dunk deletable? Post gets watched.
2. 1 + a bunch of negative flags? Post gets deleted.
3. 1 + 2 + someone strongly disagrees with deletion? Metatalk gets posted.
-----
4a. 1 + 2 + 3 + thread uninamously declares that deletion was completely bizarre? Post gets restored.
4b. 1 + 2 + 3 + response to metatalk thread is mixed? Post probably not getting restored.


Using the inductive reasoning, lame posters will realize that when the other lame posters they've identified have not killed themselves on day n-1, that they are therefore also lame posters and will kill themselves on day n.

This isn't that hard, people.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:49 PM on February 15, 2008


Racism is propagated by white people against people of color. Racism is a product of white supremacy. Claiming that someone is "racist" against white people is to appropriate the term in a very sinister way.

What the fuck? You really need to get out more. Like Asia or Africa or the Middle East or something.
posted by tkolar at 8:51 PM on February 15, 2008


Racism is a product of the enlightenment and is a vestige of white colonialism. Whites claiming that they have experienced "racism" are making a farce of the centuries of genocide that whites (yes whites) have perpetrated against people of color on nearly every continent on the planet.

I would highly recommend starting with James Cone.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:52 PM on February 15, 2008


Using the inductive reasoning, lame posters will realize that when the other lame posters they've identified have not killed themselves on day n-1, that they are therefore also lame posters and will kill themselves on day n.

This isn't that hard, people.


It's a good thing there's a button for them to press to expedite the whole process.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:54 PM on February 15, 2008


And, surprisingly, the wikipedia article section on Racism and the Enlightenment is actually quite good in addressing this.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:55 PM on February 15, 2008


Okay but Baby_Balrog, then what do you call it when not-white people have a race-based prejudice against other people, if not racism?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:09 PM on February 15, 2008


Racism is a product of the enlightenment and is a vestige of white colonialism.

Really? There was no racism before the enlightenment period?

Somebody should let the Jews know. They have a lot of history to revisit.
posted by tkolar at 9:26 PM on February 15, 2008


Oh, and of course Shakespeare was writing the characters Shylock and Iago 100 years before the Enlightenment, but he always was ahead of his time.
posted by tkolar at 9:29 PM on February 15, 2008


DON'T FEED THE TROLL
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:30 PM on February 15, 2008


tkolar: Also don't mention Jews vs. Samaritans, which had nothing to do with racism and never happened anyway because it was before the Enlightenment and they weren't white.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:32 PM on February 15, 2008


Racism is a product of the enlightenment and is a vestige of white colonialism. Whites claiming that they have experienced "racism" are making a farce of the centuries of genocide that whites (yes whites) have perpetrated against people of color on nearly every continent on the planet.

Wow. I can't believe I'm actually reading this. Perhaps you should consult your dictionary to look up what racism actually means. As for the "genocide that whites have perpetrated" um well, it wasn't just white people that were selling slaves in Africa honey.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 9:34 PM on February 15, 2008


Baby_Balrog, I don't know if anyone here will argue that "reverse" institutional racism exists, but the anecdotes people have shared certainly prove that "reverse" individual racism racism exists. However, whatever obvious or tenuous connections specific racisms have to modernism and colonialism, we are transitioning into the post-colonial, postmodern (*ducks*) age and it would behoove us to acknowledge that today's racism is a simulacrum of original racism, in the consciousnesses of, say, the African-Americans who targeted Korean-Americans in the LA riots.

Discourse on colonial and post-colonial conflict and philosophy is helpful in all power disparities, but I think in this case, the conclusion you've drawn from it, that "Racism" refers to behaviors emanating from a specific historical framework of injustice, is faulty.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:36 PM on February 15, 2008


got some misplaced italics up there.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:37 PM on February 15, 2008


Yes, baby_balrog, racism might have had a different definition during the enlightenment than it does now. So did the word "bunghole." It's funny how words evolve, isn't it?
posted by Dave Faris at 9:45 PM on February 15, 2008


It's times like this that I like to reflect on a comment made by a South Korean trade ambassador about how important the American and European trade relationships were versus the Chinese. He said, "Whites have only been in Asia for about 400 years. They may leave. China has always been here and always will be, so we take a more long term approach to our relationship."
posted by tkolar at 9:46 PM on February 15, 2008


Jews were carefully defined by their assailants as non-white - in fact, the characterization of Jews as "white" is a recent development. (pp 171-172).

Once again - racism is a product of white supremacy.

[f.d. - I am an Ashkenazi Jew]
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:47 PM on February 15, 2008


That answers like so many questions that were just asked!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:49 PM on February 15, 2008


"Okay but Baby_Balrog, then what do you call it when not-white people have a race-based prejudice against other people, if not racism?"

Oftentimes? I call it a solid understanding of reality.

Sometimes it's prejudice, or bigotry, but if you're a young black male and you harbor an antipathy for white cops I would call that wisdom.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:53 PM on February 15, 2008


What about when it's black people targeting Koreans in the LA riots? Is that a solid understanding of reality?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:56 PM on February 15, 2008


Whites have been trying to play their own version of the racism card for a while now - it has become surprisingly popular (especially amongst conservatives) in the past decade or so. Now that it has become unfashionable in most circles to be blatantly racist, it's much easier to complain about how the marginalized are "racist" towards us poor white folk. After all, racism is, like, totally wrong, dude.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:56 PM on February 15, 2008


Late to the game here, but I thought the posted site was remarkably thorough and well observed. I had no trouble recognizing myself and my friends in a lot of it.

But it didn't manage to be especially funny. Not unfunny, certainly not offensive, but... nary a chuckle. Well observed doesn't necessarily equal funny... it takes talent to be a comedy writer: "it's funny 'coz it's truuuue" doesn't always cut it. It didn't here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:01 PM on February 15, 2008


Shakespeherian - you could also reference blacks targeting mexicans and puerto ricans in Chicago's south side - the example would be the same.

At issue is the fact that the marginalized are responding to systematic injustices perpetrated by the white majority - forced to live in ghettos, a reduced quality of life - so they turn on another marginalized population. But over and above all of this - hanging like a cloud over the city, is a white power class that has steadily and carefully prevented the marginalized from leaving the ghettos. The most violent places to live.

So whites force the Koreans and the blacks and the Mexicans to live in the ghettos. And they fight with each other - the ghetto is a wretched, violent place to live.

And we blame the minorities, rather than the majority that created the problem in the first place.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:03 PM on February 15, 2008


Baby_Balrog, I think we can all agree that your attempt to claim the word "racism" in the name of people oppressed by white people everywhere has failed. Perhaps you should find a more descriptive phrase.
posted by tkolar at 10:05 PM on February 15, 2008


Okay but I'm not talking about who is ultimately to blame, because we all know that obviously only white people ever do bad shit. I'm talking about the attitude that these specific not-white people have regarding other groups, and how they are prejudiced against them in racial terms: What makes that not racism, i.e., how can you possibly justify saying that racism is only something that white people do?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:05 PM on February 15, 2008


Honestly, scarabic's comment sums it up perfectly.

Also, the site is fucking funny and it should have been left up on the front page, but at least it's given us an opportunity to find out which white mefites are being systematically oppressed by all those powerful minorities.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:05 PM on February 15, 2008


tkolar, I think that we can all agree that you fail at everything forever and you should quit.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:06 PM on February 15, 2008


You are all LOSING AT THE INTERNET, except maybe Baby_Balrog, not sure.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:09 PM on February 15, 2008


All Tims think that. Just sayin'.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:10 PM on February 15, 2008


Black people don't even have Internet. Think about that.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:11 PM on February 15, 2008


tkolar, I think that we can all agree that you fail at everything forever and you should quit.

Boy, put somebody on the sidebar and it goes straight to their head....

But thank you for stopping the pretension that you were doing anything other than trolling.
posted by tkolar at 10:11 PM on February 15, 2008


I'm sorry, I have to ask Baby_Balrog would you please, very clearly, explain to me what you define as racism?
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 10:18 PM on February 15, 2008


I apologize for that. But your assessment that "we can all agree that you're wrong" kind of stung. It's more than a little rude to call a consensus on something right in the middle of the debate.

Especially about something this important.

That was said in haste. I'm sure you don't fail at everything all the time.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:18 PM on February 15, 2008


Baby_Balrog, racism is racism is racism. Isms which divide are ugly.

My friends who joined a particular militaristic pride organisation in the early '90s had to get there after some brutal eye-opening, but I'd already learned in experiences similar to those described by Devils Rancher, since I was also a pale kid in less pale neighbourhoods/schools in Houston from '71-90.

The racism I was taught to oppose in my multi-culti upbringing could come from anywhere or anyone, not just all those filthy, close-minded rednecks I'd been raised to fear. Someone would suddenly come up with a reason why everything was someone else's fault because of skin colour or cultural heritage and BAM, there we were in hate-land.

Don't be part of the problem, Baby_Balrog. Try, please, to recognise that racism is wherever there's a dominant structure that can be tied to how one looks instead of who one is. Colour has nothing to do with it except for those who want to be right even when they're wrong.

tkchrist said:
"Well this at least I can relate to. I so want to put that neon stuff under my car; only the negative association with the F&F crowd holds me back."

My first experience with someone saying they couldn't do something because another culture "owned" it was a friend explaining why she couldn't have a book I tried to give her. Something about her sister thinking she was trying "act white". She read the book whenever she came to visit and really liked it, but that was enough pressure to keep her from owning her own copy.

Interestingly, the next time I encountered this kind of thing was in school, when kids who those of us in honours classes were ridiculed for being overachievers by our peers in the regular classes and at home.

I dunno that any of us were thinking about how we'd love to have some buttrock hair, but we sure did wish folks would leave us the hell alone for wanting to get something out of life.

And I guess that's one reason that lists like that piss me off and get my dander up, in addition to the others listed already.

Anyway.

The way this thread has devolved, including my part in it?

*That's* the reason one should make sure this kind of crap is at least worth the kerfuffle.

That site wasn't.
posted by batmonkey at 10:22 PM on February 15, 2008


hfmb: I suppose I would define racism as a system invented by white colonizers to define non-whites as "other" and thus less deserving of basic human rights. Racism is a white invention and a product of the Enlightenment.

So, as a white person, how can I not be a racist? In "modern" society, is racism a fundamental property of privilege? I suspect that it is so. Then what can be done? Paulo Freire and James Cone both suggest becoming ontologically other. This could well be impossible, but it is an important undertaking, and it is constantly undermined by a shrill mass of individuals who constantly seek out new ways of shoveling the responsibility for their privilege onto the minorities. Thus we have the fabrication of "reverse racism."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:23 PM on February 15, 2008


dangit, i am not proofreading well tonight.

here's a link, to make up for the pain of parsing the junk above.
posted by batmonkey at 10:25 PM on February 15, 2008


Don't call Baby Balrog white!
posted by Bookhouse at 10:26 PM on February 15, 2008


batmonkey - Try, please, to recognise that racism is wherever there's a dominant structure that can be tied to how one looks instead of who one is.

So you're saying a black person's voiced frustration at white privilege - acting "racist" towards a white person - is the same as a member of the dominant majority taking advantage of their status to put down a black person?
Instead of an oppressed minorities response to a broken system that seeks to continually prevent them from achieving a tenable standard of living? That reeks of, "those colored folk just don't know their place. Look how mean they are to the white kids."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:28 PM on February 15, 2008


Racism is a white invention and a product of the Enlightenment.

That's just ridiculous, as has been pointed out already. People (both white and not-white) were racist a long time before the Enlightenment, and people (both white and not-white) continue to be racist today in relation to many different ethnic groups, not always involving white people in any way, and not always existing in western culture. Surprise! Other people exist.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:29 PM on February 15, 2008


I suppose I would define racism as a system invented by white colonizers to define non-whites as "other" and thus less deserving of basic human rights. Racism is a white invention and a product of the Enlightenment.

You must realize that most people mean something quite different when they say "racism," right? You do have access to a dictionary?

I start to wonder how boggled your mind really could've been, earlier. Is it really that surprising when you discover that other people don't share you highly idiosyncratic definitions of common terms? This must happen quite often. One would think the surprise would wear off.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:32 PM on February 15, 2008




Racism is a white invention and a product of the Enlightenment.

I love the fact that you said this twice. It drives home just how hard you are trolling here.
posted by tkolar at 10:32 PM on February 15, 2008


Boy, put somebody on the sidebar and it goes straight to their head....

Regardless of whether or not I agree with B_B, that's a bullshit cheap shot and a needlessly mean derail, and you should know better.

Also: Not funny anymore, not that he ever really was.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:34 PM on February 15, 2008


tkolar: Maybe I said it twice because they obviously missed my earlier comment and were looking for clarification. I guess I could have just linked to it.

Mr. President, the surprise wears off rather quickly. You see, I'm a graduate student, and the world I inhabit is oftentimes quite different from what I encounter on the mean streets of metatalk.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish reading my Derrida so I can watch the rest of Arrested Development that I got from Netflix before I pop in some Of Montreal and fall deeply asleep, dreaming of recycling bins and the Prius I might someday own, if I ever seem to break out of my lower-class (read: graduate student) income bracket.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:38 PM on February 15, 2008


I GUESS THAT SHOWS ME
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 PM on February 15, 2008


Baby_Balrog, you are reading craziness into very clear words based on what is clearly some kind of strangely broken understanding of intrinsic cultural structures.

Anyone can be racist. Anyone can hate. Anyone can cook up reasons why they have permission to be cruel to others.

Where I come from, where I live, where my family and friends are, this is the reality: mean people suck, and there are a lot of mean people.

Yeah, racism exists. Of course it exists! And, yes, the particular variety practiced by the proverbial Privileged White Dudes is real. For the love of puppies, don't be ludicrous.

Maybe when you learn about racism in books instead of living with it everyday, you get crazy ideas like the ones you have. I don't know.

What I do know is that my best friend of 25 years is called horrible names and literally treated like Cinderella because her mother refuses to acknowledge her family is Creole instead of "Pure Acadian". Her mother's family has no idea how beautiful my friend or her children are, because she is made to go stay with friends when they come to town, and she's never allowed to go to holidays at their place. "Theresa's little embarrassment," she's called.

What I do know is a friend from work being fired because she got pregnant, because the owners of our store (not white, but not from her cultural group, either) believed everyone of her culture becomes a wastrel the moment they get knocked up.

What I do know is watching neo-nazis chasing me and my friends when we left a punk club in '87, culminating in two kids getting beaten with 2x4s for the sin of not sticking with "their kind".

What I also know is how many shitlists I've been put on because I don't tolerate racist jokes or behaviour, and being told I don't get certain opportunities because I don't "roll with it".

So, hey, you go on with whatever crackpot ideas you've got about what racism is. You're wrong, but that's your issue, not mine.
posted by batmonkey at 10:40 PM on February 15, 2008


Also: Not funny anymore, not that he ever really was.

I thought it was a pretty perfect 'reverse' troll — oh no! Is it possible for there to be 'reverse' trolling? I suppose not — after all, persons of trolledness can never be trollist!
posted by blasdelf at 10:41 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't call Baby Balrog white!

Man, NOFX is right on topic for this whole thread.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:42 PM on February 15, 2008


Alvy Ampersand...

Regardless of whether or not I agree with B_B, that's a bullshit cheap shot and a needlessly mean derail, and you should know better.


That depends on whether you think B_B is being serious with this "I'm going to change the meaning of the word 'racism' crap." He's reading about 5 goats out of 10 on the troll-o-meter right now.

And about the time he started claiming people who disagreed with his new definition were "white mefites [being] systematically oppressed by all those powerful minorities" I lost any sympathy for him.
posted by tkolar at 10:42 PM on February 15, 2008



b_b, I implore you to have a full understanding of what defines racism. There is something at a very base level that you are not grasping here. When you try to drive home a point, you should have a very clear view of what a word actually means. I am really trying to understand if what you are essentially saying is that white people can not experience racism. If that is the case, then by definition of the word, white people are not a race.

Yes, racism in America was created primarily by whites but it was because of fear of WHITES, Native Americans and blacks joining together. It was a social economic issue, not a color issue. HOWEVER, racism (as tkolar and others have pointed out) existed a long time ago....the white people didn't "invent" it, we just exploited it, like so many other races had already.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 10:43 PM on February 15, 2008


Whites claiming that they have experienced "racism" are making a farce of the centuries of genocide that whites (yes whites) have perpetrated against people of color on nearly every continent on the planet.

MY ancestors were white AND they were victims of genocide, not to mention colonization
posted by pyramid termite at 11:00 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


That depends on whether you think B_B is being serious

I do think his definition of racism is weird and confusingly narrow and wrong, since racism can be found in many other times and places than the modern American sociological context he's wedded it to. Therefore, there's no need to try and sabotage his credibility by dragging in his favorites or sidebar mention or contacts or whatever. Stating he's just swell-headedly dick-swinging is specious nonsense†, attacking the person instead of their argument, and probably has one of those latin names I always have to Google.

That sort of thing reeks of fave-whoring‡.

‡Glib attempt to make a point, not sincere.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:08 PM on February 15, 2008


Something about Baby_Balrog's definition of 'racism' just struck me: He's arguing that only white people like him can be upper-class enough to really be racist†

Those lower-class 'people of color' are just tools in the invisible hand of true racists like himself‡

He has racist privilege! I don't think we can take that from him.

posted by blasdelf at 11:21 PM on February 15, 2008


Wait I want to use daggers!†

†Unfortunately I have nothing of substance to say.‡

‡Much less footnote.

posted by shakespeherian at 11:24 PM on February 15, 2008


We can no more dissolve his racist privilege than we can strip him of the color of his skin

It's how he was born, it's who he is!

HE'S BEEN RACIST ALL HIS LIFE

posted by blasdelf at 11:29 PM on February 15, 2008


@ jonmc: Do they even make wine coolers anymore? Most of the fruit-flavored booze i see is labeled 'flavored malt beverage.'

Well, no, but you can still get them at the Dollar Store. We like those too, you know? Especially when they get the new greeting cards in.
posted by melodie at 12:37 AM on February 16, 2008


tkchrist said:
"Well this at least I can relate to. I so want to put that neon stuff under my car; only the negative association with the F&F crowd holds me back."


I never said that. That was Mitheral.


Oftentimes? I call it a solid understanding of reality.

What fucking sick apologist garbage. I guess the Japanese in th 1920's and 1930's who murdered a million other humans they viewed as "mongrel species" were not racists. Oooookayeeeee.

Baby Balrog you are out of your nut-bag frigg'n mind. Get some help.

Jeez. Set shields to "ignore" and phasers to kill-file.

Yet another MeFite for the Plonk Pile. It's getting whittled down around here.
posted by tkchrist at 1:03 AM on February 16, 2008


For all the talk about how Mefi is full of college-educated left-leaning intelligentsia, there sure seems to be some failure in faith when it comes to our discussions of basic contemporary liberal arts concepts.

For my part, it sounds like Baby_Balrog is just really keyed up on Freire, and that's cool, because Freire's cool. That theologist, I dunno, I'm more a Fanon-> bell hooks-> Trinh T. Minh Ha kind of gal. mediamediamedia. So Freire isn't central, but I know what he's about because I'm also very interested in resistant pedagogy, and I totally know why a layperson's defintition of "racism" is being ignored by Baby_Balrog. I respectfully disagree with him. I find it cripplingly modernist. He's not trolling, he's sophomoric, and I'm incited to say so because he's not addressed any of my prior remarks on his theory of Racism.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:15 AM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Scarabic has by far the best comment on the situation. What makes the site effective and uncomfortable is that it is daring to speak about white people as a group that can be studied and commented upon, whereas it is the single largest privilege of white privilege that we get to be normal or generic americans not reducible to race while everybody else is a distinct subset of that. What it means to be white is invisible to most white people, and that is what the site is drawing attention to.

There is something in America that is powerful and hegemonic, that exerts great pressure on others to assimilate or imitate to be accepted. What is that something? You can call it 'mainstream' American culture - you can call it whiteness.

A problem with calling it mainstream American culture is it allows white-skinned people to think they are not in it or of it, when the fact is that mainstream American culture confers tremendous advantage on white-skinned people. A problem with calling it whiteness is that it is alienating to white-skinned people who are outside the mainstream (see white trash), but more importantly it stigmatizes non-white people who want to embrace desirable qualities of the mainstream. This second reason might be what led some people to say people who think the only way this site could be racist is by being anti-whitey are totally fucking clueless and I think batmonkey's position.

It's a thorny problem. My general observation is that people who are interested in preserving their racial distinctness are likely to call it whiteness while those for whom race is a less important component of their identity are more likely to refer to mainstream American culture. Have to cut it off there - crying baby on my arm. My two cents.

AV - how bout some links for us non-liberal arts majors?
posted by BinGregory at 2:53 AM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


BinGregory, I was a film & digital media major, which I maintain is both laughable and prescient. The recentness of my study matters dearly, and I hope that this doesn't read as pure vanity of youth, but interest in bridgebuilding across all ages, races, etc. For any attentive, openminded people, I am delighted to provide links. My links will, sadly, be rather bookish. I'm drunk and drawing from a stack of readers lazily. Frantz Fanon is my go-to name for representative colonialist texts, Shohat and Stam wrote a book that can really take you far. The films that illustrate our contemporary culture's racisms most beautifully are often hard to obtain, but if I could screen just one for you, it might be Who Killed Vincent Chin?... or Watermelon Woman.

p.s LOL DONGS and the rest will have to be in memail or after I'm sobered up and back from a camping trip.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:31 AM on February 16, 2008


[f.d. - I am an Ashkenazi Jew]

I am too and maybe me and Baby_Balrog are part of the same club or maybe we went to similar schools but the ways he's explaining racism is how it's always been understood by me.

It's tricky because it's sort of a word that has an academic meaning and then a colloquial meaning. Colloquially it just means something like systematic bigotry in which case yeah you can have the dominant class be "racist" against a non-dominant class. Academically, as the word has been studied and as power and race issues have been analyzed and understood through scholarship, racism is something that the dominant class perpetuates on an underclass. This includes the systematic generations of oppression and disenfranchisement in addition to the general stupid one-off bigoted comments like people always toss into these threads. The problem is, it's pretty impossible to differentiate between these senses of the same word.

The other problem is that people with a certain amount of privilege who don't feel that they have any privilege or who reject this somehow internally and don't feel like part of a privileged class have a hard time getting their head around the fact that one racially-motivated ass-kicking doesn't undo or counteract centuries of systematic oppresion which is what book-learning types tend to refer to as racism. At the risk of being a one note pain in the ass here, sexism is similar, and possibly even more hotly contested because it's possible to be a very privileged female and still have your femaleness be a characteristic that people see as a way to keep you down or take you down a notch, etc. Similar with poverty and that recent FPP where the kid "made himself poor" and then wrote about it and is now on the public speaker circuit. many people, very aptly, in my opinion, said "that's not poor" because in some sense, growing up with a familial social safety net and access to medical and dental care and food for every meal is already an indicator that you're not "livign in poverty" Having little money means poor, but poverty is also the systematic disenfranchisement of a class of people that goes deeper than their lack of cash. In many circles, racism is viewed the same way.

I don't really want to get into a fight with anyone about this, just wanted to point out that B-B makes some sense in the context that he's trying to speak to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:30 AM on February 16, 2008 [15 favorites]


Thanks for the links, AV. I've been doodling around on this subject and thought I'd share some of the stuff I've found.

Deconstructing Whiteness: a bibiography

White Like Me - an introduction to the good bad and ugly of the burgeoning whiteness studies field.

cablinasian like me - TIGER WOODS' REJECTION OF ORTHODOX RACIAL CLASSIFICATIONS POINTS THE WAY
TO A FUTURE WHERE RACE WILL NO LONGER DEFINE US.
Deeper than a celebrity article, trust me.

And finally, with fresh relevance after Illinois: School Shootings and White Denial by Tim Wise: And yet once again, we hear the FBI insist there is no "profile" of a school shooter. Come again? White boy after white boy after white boy, with very few exceptions to that rule (and none in the mass shooting category), decides to use their classmates for target practice, and yet there is no profile?

Also the links page of the Center for the Study of White American Culture once again, since the thread was tragically deleted.
posted by BinGregory at 6:56 AM on February 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


ahem, that would be a bibliography
posted by BinGregory at 6:58 AM on February 16, 2008


BinGregory:
white boy after white boy, with very few exceptions to that rule (and none in the mass shooting category), decides to use their classmates for target practice

That was written in 2001, dude. Since then, just since 2005 we have had: the Virginia Tech shooter (Cho Seung-Hui, Korean, 33 dead), the Delaware State shooter (Loyer D. Brandon, black, 2 wounded), the Tacoma, WA shooter (Douglas Chanthabouly, Laotian, 1 dead), the Dawson College, Montreal, shooter (Kimveer Singh Gill, Sikh, 1 dead, 12 wounded), the Red Lake MN shooter (Jeffrey Wise, American Indian, 10 dead) etc.... That's 5 of the last 14 school shooting chronicled here.

There goes that theory. School shooting is an equal opportunity crime. That's why there is no profile. "Fresh relevance", no.
posted by beagle at 7:28 AM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am too and maybe me and Baby_Balrog are part of the same club or maybe we went to similar schools but the ways he's explaining racism is how it's always been understood by me.

I went and keep going to school for Serious Business, so I may not completely get where he's coming from, though I think I get the gist of it. But if he's not trolling Metafilter at a high level, I think he's being ridiculously (willfully?) obtuse in refusing to acknowledge that:

-Everyone else is working from, rather than involved academic meanings, the goddamn dictionary definition "racism, n. - racial prejudice or discrimination" where "racial" can be read as, to be vague, intercultural/interethnic/inter-heritage groups, not necessarily the stupid arbitrary "Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid" concept of race.

-Even under his conception, "White people" are not the dominant class as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, across all times and places.

Jeez. Set shields to "ignore" and phasers to kill-file.

Yet another MeFite for the Plonk Pile. It's getting whittled down around here.


Personally I just started my new solution for this sort of thing, which is not ignoring anyone forever. Even if they deserved not to be read, this would lead to confusion, so I installed this script which lets me store notes to view by mousing over a name. INTELLECTUAL DEMERITS, BABY_BALROG, YOU HAS THEM! (Basically, the point of that is in real life I tend to remember when someone says something stupid/smart/revealing. That doesn't work for me on the internet, so I've decided to offload memory duties to Firefox.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:28 AM on February 16, 2008


crap, my apologies, tkchrist & mitheral.

thanks for straightening me out on that, tkchrist.
posted by batmonkey at 8:33 AM on February 16, 2008


Baby Balrog you are out of your nut-bag frigg'n mind. Get some help.

Come on now. Like AV said, "He's not trolling, he's sophomoric." I knew guys like him in college, and yes, it gets tiresome, but overemphasizing the breastbeating and the "only white people can be racist, others are just reacting to our EVIL!" seems to be necessary for some well-meaning white people as a waystation to a more nuanced position. Of course, some people never reach the nuanced position, and those people become tenured professors. Zippity-BOP! Apologies to any tenured professors reading this.
posted by languagehat at 8:54 AM on February 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jessamyn wrote...
Academically, as the word has been studied and as power and race issues have been analyzed and understood through scholarship, racism is something that the dominant class perpetuates on an underclass.

That's how it was used where I went to college as well. However, it was presented with examples that stretch back to the dawn of time, not as something invented by white people in the 17th century.

And your comparison to Sexism is quite apropos. Both Racism and Sexism are real phenomena, but as concepts they hold a seductive trap that people fall into again and again: namely, the infantilization of the oppressed. At the extreme end I've seen presented that all heterosexual sex is rape, because women in this Sexist society are incapable of real consent. A little closer in from that edge we see B_B's confident assertion that racist behavior between blacks and Koreans is not in fact Racism -- despite the obvious power imbalance between Korean shop owners and black customers -- but in fact blameless behavior that both sides are forced into by White racism.

But the biggest trap in the study of Racism (and indeed of a Western education as a whole) is coming to believe that whites invented every social phenomenon that ever was. (as well as every artifact -- It's amazing how many class lessons about the Gutenberg Printing Press have a little asterisk at the end that says "Oh yeah, the Chinese were doing basically the same thing 700 years earlier"). The particular idea that whites invented institutionalized Racism in the 17th century is even more laughable, as there are copious examples *in Western history* before that time.

So, in summary:

1) As you say, the word racism has two distinct meanings -- one academic (Racism) and one colloquial (racism).

2) B_B's attempt to have a conversation about while completely ignoring the colloquial use of the word was either simple trolling or severely misguided.

3) B_B's stubborn belief that Racism was invented by white people in the 17th century is a sad indictment of Western education.
posted by tkolar at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


languagehat wrote...
Of course, some people never reach the nuanced position, and those people become tenured professors.

Only only wish you were joking. Nothing like having 100 young minds who are required to parrot back to you everything you say to reinforce your own crappy thinking.
posted by tkolar at 9:32 AM on February 16, 2008


BinGregory: I understand what you are scarbric are saying, and I think you could have a site like that, and the Things White People Like may even be trying to do that, however it fails horribly. Not all mainstream culture is by white, and appropriating it all as white by default is racist.
posted by aspo at 9:33 AM on February 16, 2008


I can understand where B_B's coming from too, especially knowing the bullshit that went around when Michigan voted up a constitutional amendment barring affirmative action—the rhetoric of victimization is seductive, and is used disingenuously to further disenfranchise minorities. I also know that a lot of black folks I know think that blacks can't be racist.

I tend to disagree, but I think it's because I don't see racism or bias as de facto bad, but rather as an ideological affectation through which bad things generally happen. That black people think white people smell like wet dogs (something I've heard more than a couple of times) is racist, but not a particularly dangerous position. Their general lack of relative power means that it's just not really an issue.

I will say that like tkchrist, I've had my ass kicked for the stated reason of being white (my brother and I were the only white kids in a black neighborhood, until some Poles moved in a bit later, and regularly got ass beatings for it), though I'd say that at the point where I was having my ass kicked, I would argue that the black kids had a fairly apparent power over me. Does that mean they were racist only for that moment?

I think there's also something that can be drawn from the analogy to sexism—women can most definitely be sexist. Phyllis Schlafley, for example (though I doubt I spelled her name correctly), or Ann Coulter. But the sexism they support is that of the dominant power structure. I think you could make an argument that some radical feminists are also sexist, but it's also not too hard to argue that their radical nature means that they actually end up supporting the dominant power structure too. I think that both Alan Keyes and Louis Farrakhan could be fairly called racist for a raft of reasons.
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on February 16, 2008


"only white people can be racist, others are just reacting to our EVIL!" seems to be necessary for some well-meaning white people as a waystation to a more nuanced position.

Let me guess, the more nuanced position is the one where white people don't have to reflect at all on their unearned privileges?

Did you think Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement were "sophomoric" as well? Maybe that's what the South African Security Police told him before they beat him to death.

I think threads like this tend to aptly demonstrate the kind of "white liberals" that the site in question parodies. They're against racism, as long as they get to be the ones who define what counts as racism. They're against homophobia, as long as they get to define what it means... etc. etc.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:30 AM on February 16, 2008


I'll go with the dictionary definitions, thanks.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on February 16, 2008


Let me guess, the more nuanced position is the one where white people don't have to reflect at all on their unearned privileges?
Did you think Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement were "sophomoric" as well? Maybe that's what the South African Security Police told him before they beat him to death.


Yes! You're exactly right! I believe that EITHER you blame the white devil for everything in the world, from the beginning of time on, OR you are a stone racist who wants blacks beaten to death! THAT'S what I call a nuanced position! YOU HAVE FOUND ME OUT!!

*weeps, volunteers for reeducation, is never seen again*
posted by languagehat at 11:54 AM on February 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Let me guess, the more nuanced position is the one where white people don't have to reflect at all on their unearned privileges?

[stops to compose a ripoff of "Send In The Clowns" called "Send In The Trolls", then decides he hates the original song so much he can't go through with it.]
posted by tkolar at 12:22 PM on February 16, 2008


Racist? Dear MetaFilter, pull your head out of you tight white ass.
posted by nola at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've read this whole thread and now I want to cry.
posted by ob at 1:05 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


And for what it's worth that deleted post was so totally for 90% of MeFi, and that's why it was funny, and funny still because it got your Abercrombie and Fitch, 100% cotton sport-boxers in a twist. So suck on that.
posted by nola at 1:10 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm kinda neither here nor there on whether there was really anything controversial in the post in quesiton, nola, but "a good post is a post that gleefully pisses people off" really isn't a good philosophy for the front page in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:16 PM on February 16, 2008


I don't disagree cortex, but I do think it's funny that many people here got pissed off by the post, as evidence by this thread if nothing else.
posted by nola at 1:29 PM on February 16, 2008


Actually, if somebody hadn't gotten pissed off that the FPP was deleted (twice), this thread wouldn't exist at all. And we would, I daresay, all be the richer for it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:50 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


See what happens when a nation bails out decades too soon on the class war.
posted by Abiezer at 1:54 PM on February 16, 2008


I think the post would have been better if there was something of scarabic's post included. Some links to that sort of discussion.

I think it's an interesting idea, that "white" doesn't just mean "white skin".

I do think there is something real in the link posted in the FPP, but by itself it's just a single-link humor post and I guess that isn't necessarily enough, just depends.

MY ancestors were white AND they were victims of genocide, not to mention colonization

pyramid termite, I believe Baby_Balrog is saying that people we now consider to be white, like Jews and the Irish, were not always considered to be "white". A book that makes this point: Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White.
posted by Danila at 1:59 PM on February 16, 2008


by the same token "a bad post is a post that gets up people's noses" is a rather milquetoast and craven way to mod, cortex.

anyhow, dissapointed that it didn't get reinstated, especially after all the support in this thread.
posted by dydecker at 2:19 PM on February 16, 2008


I guess The Man damned you, dydecker.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:27 PM on February 16, 2008


Hi - I'm back.

I'd been meaning to make this point for a while - deconstructing the colloquial meaning of racism on Metafilter, but I knew it would cause a massive, flaming derail so I saw the end of this metatalk thread as an opportunity and took it. I'm not trolling. If I wanted to troll I would much prefer to go into any of the lolxian threads with my homiletical flame-thrower and start some serious shit.

First, let me apologize if I seemed a little stilted with my comments last night, I should have organized the whole thing into one comment rather than having a billion little barbs all over the place. Secondly, I'd like to state for the record that I completely understand that "most people" don't read a person's skin color into their ability to hold racist ideas in their head. I understand that a very stripped down, common form of racism could apply, in some sense, to the way that any single group of "racially similar" (whatever that means) people could treat a disparate group of people.

However, I honestly believe that if we are ever going to move beyond racism in this country and elsewhere we have to take a historically sober approach to the institutionalization of racism - namely, that a scientific concept of "race" was codified by Western colonial powers during the enlightenment to justify their subjugation of foreign people.

Have different ethnic groups fought with one another throughout history? Of course they have! Nevertheless, racism, as we experience it in the United States, is essentially a product of the normative standards that have developed between different racial groups, primarily that of the white slave/land-owner and all other groups.

Furthermore, the supposed "victim-hood" of whites who have experienced "discrimination" at the hands of other ethnic groups, generally as a response to the original prevailing imbalance of power, is questionable and problematic at best. After all is said and done, you are still white, you are still a member of the dominant ethnic power in the region, and you are still intrinsically priveleged because of the color of your skin. Racism moves from the top to the bottom; it is a tool used by the powerful to maintain power. In this sense, a black person cannot said to be "racist" because they are not a member of the dominant group - it is not possible for them to "use" racism to maintain power over white society. That's a non sequitur.

Only when these power structures are illuminated and the institutionalized use of racism is fully recognized can we begin to untangle the history of race relations in the U.S.

Of course I realize that not everyone understand racism this way. It would be absurd to think this. I was only trying to defend and advance the definition of racism that seems most reasonable to me. I don't believe in consensus when it comes to language - especially academic language - this, I'm afraid, is a product of my "post-modernist" (post-structuralist) academic upbringing.

But I'm glad that I was able to field this definition and I'm glad that even though I attempted to make this point at the bottom of a massive metatalk thread, people were still interested in exploring this idea.

tkolar, I apologize if I caused you any cardiovascular damage.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:35 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


B_B says> So you're saying a black person's voiced frustration at white privilege - acting "racist" towards a white person - is the same as a member of the dominant majority taking advantage of their status to put down a black person?

I don't agree with all B_B has to say but this take on "academic" racism is entirely accurate and shouldn't be cast aside because it is not the dictionary definition [Who is that puts dictionaries together?]

I can see from that above that the majority of MeFites will disagree with me but you have to look at the historical context of your society to establish what racism is - who has set up the system and who gains from the system and who loses from it?

Quick and over-simplified history: American Indians had their land stolen off them and then black people were shipped from Africa against their will to be slaves for the whites and as late as forty years ago there was racism decreed by law! The power structure is not theirs. To use incarceration as just one of many possible examples - a black male is 600% more likely to be in jail than a white male. There are two possible explanations:
1> the system is set up in a way that disadvantages black people and penalises them.
2> black people are inherently criminal

The "racism" against white people is as B_B says, often just the voiced frustration at white privilege and is in no way comparable to an entire society that has entrenched institutional racism that penalizes non-whites.
posted by meech at 2:57 PM on February 16, 2008


So whites force the Koreans and the blacks and the Mexicans to live in the ghettos. And they fight with each other - the ghetto is a wretched, violent place to live.

And we blame the minorities, rather than the majority that created the problem in the first place.


You see, though, the problem with this is that it's all incredibly distanced and theoretical and doesn't seem to apply specifically to a whole mess of situations.

Certainly, white privilege is a problem. No one is arguing that, and I don't think anyone has argued that 'white' is the dominant mode of contemporary American culture, or that the behavior of white-empowering institutions isn't responsible for a lot of the racial/ethnic conflict that we see every day. However, I think it's also preposterous to see a particular situation, for example an African-American male beating the shit out of a Korean-American male in LA because the guy is Korean-American and then frown and say 'That poor African-American male! I'd better go find the white people who are to blame for this and lock them up.' This is still an example of an individual acting immoral, pre-judging someone because of his ethnicity, regardless of the larger institutional problems and issues that have brought this about.

Prisons are horribly disproportionately filled with African-American males, and this is obviously because, as meech says, the system is fucked up and there are years and years of economic and social reasons that wind up with black men committing crimes. But that doesn't make them not crimes.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:17 PM on February 16, 2008


# 70: Fighting Other Peoples' Symbolic Battles

White people feel a terrible sense of guilt about the terrible things they've done to other races in the past & desperately want to atone for this. One of the easiest ways is for them to take the high moral ground over some symbolic issue that actually doesn't really affect them at all, but shows how much they care about the plight of others. This helps them feel good about themselves.

To give an example, a professional white woman is asked to serve turkey to her husband one night a year. Because she is concerned about the plight of oppressed women in dirty, poor foreign countries, it is not only good, but necessary for her to refuse, even though she suffers none of the other repressions that her overseas sister faces. Her refusal allows her to feel like she is smashing oppressive power structures, even if it has no effect whatsoever other than helping her to feel good about herself. This follows the white person principle of saving the world by doing very little.

Similarly, white people agree that racism is bad, because the whole of white colonial history is racist from top to bottom. Unfortunately, white people suffer very little of it themselves, at least not in any meaningful sense, like being refused jobs, or being turned away from businesses. This lack of exposure to the receiving end of racism causes them to become very sensitive to the slightest hint of it, such that when they read some light satire, they imagine it leading inevitably to concentration camps & ovens.

You can use this to your advantage. If you hear a white person railing against racism, tell them how good it is that they understand the suffering that other people have to go through, and commend them for their efforts in helping improve the world. They will feel like their day has been made worthwhile, and might even take you to their favourite sushi or sandwich place.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 PM on February 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


# 70: Fighting Other Peoples' Symbolic Battles .... To give an example, a professional white woman is asked to serve turkey to her husband one night a year.

I think you meant "to drag up an old axe I have to grind from AskMe/MeTa a long time ago...." and I would have to politely suggest that while you're talking metaphorically about fighting other people's symbolic battles being something to avoid that you let that one drop as well.

by the same token "a bad post is a post that gets up people's noses" is a rather milquetoast and craven way to mod, cortex. anyhow, dissapointed that it didn't get reinstated, especially after all the support in this thread.

You're oversimplifying. None of us, including cortex, will remove something purely because it might annoy people. Please refer to 4a for when your post is likely to get reinstated

4a. 1 + 2 + 3 + thread uninamously declares that deletion was completely bizarre? Post gets restored.

This thread has garnered some support for the post but it's far from unanimous or even approaching unanimous.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:32 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: that was deliberately placed, self-referential irony. being a white person, the comment should be read as a snake swallowing its own tail, with a godwin for bonus points
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:41 PM on February 16, 2008


Of course I realize that not everyone understand racism this way. It would be absurd to think this. I was only trying to defend and advance the definition of racism that seems most reasonable to me.

The most reasonable definition of racism is the one that most people use. It was completely idiotic of you to go off on this rant simply because people used a term in the sense that it's ordinarily used.

Worse, by insisting that racial prejudice isn't a per se wrong, you've provided ammunition for justifying prejudice on an inidivdual level. You're so caught up in your narrative that you've lost sight of the fact that ethnic groups do not wield power at all--individuals do.

It's quite true that white people wield more power than black people, and that they often use this power to help other white people and hurt black people, but by casting racism solely as a tool used by ethnic groups to establish collective dominance, you've provided potent tools to rationalize any individual act of prejudice by any person against any other.

You're so absorbed in your myopic view of the oppressive white hegemony, you've forgotten that most individual people (of any ethnicity) feel quite powerless individually. If racism is only an exercise of oppressive power at a broad, social level, hardly anything anyone does is going to appear racist from the perspective of that person.

People don't typically attach broad, social significance to their everyday actions, and they're absolutely right not to. Most people are completely irrelevant--nothing they do has any significant effect whatsoever. By insisting that individual racial prejudice is not a per se wrong, you've given these people a free pass.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:45 PM on February 16, 2008


ubu: as someone with an ouroboros tattoo, please allow me to tell you that the nasty part about irony is the way it requires a context that not everyone has or cares about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:45 PM on February 16, 2008


but I knew it would cause a massive, flaming derail

...

I'm not trolling.


Haha. And you still made it much more trolly and much less instructive by not acknowledging your different meaning of the word. In my academic field, for example, we basically have a different meaning of "bandwidth" than the one you probably think of. I could even say it is the "correct" meaning of "bandwidth" since my field invented the concept and it's one of the dictionary definitions, something you don't have going for your usage of "racism." I would not, however, go into a thread where someone says they have 6 MB/s of bandwidth and tell them they don't know what they're talking about.

I understand that a very stripped down, common form of racism could apply, in some sense, to the way that any single group of "racially similar" (whatever that means) people could treat a disparate group of people.

Except the way everyone else is using the word, it's not "very stripped down," that's just what it means. The way you try to redefine the word for everyone, without even telling them, instead of just talking about how it is more important to consider power and racism (common meaning) than just racism leads to failure.

-----

But that doesn't make them not crimes.

Except for drugs, etc.

------

White privilege is an interesting similar issue. There's definitely a lot of meaning there, and at least in certain aspects of my life I am very aware of things I can do because I'm classified as White, but the term tends to present it as "It is bad that White people are unlikely to go to jail and that they are politically represented," rather than "It is bad that non-White people are more likely to go to jail and have much less political representation," i.e., White people are supposed to feel bad that they are properly treated rather than feel bad that others are improperly treated.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:48 PM on February 16, 2008


* defers to ouroboros tattoo
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:54 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]



Quick and over-simplified history: American Indians had their land stolen off them and then black people were shipped from Africa against their will to be slaves for the whites and as late as forty years ago there was racism decreed by law!


Your over-simplified history is very over-simplified. Yes, I do agree with you on both counts but it's not the ONLY way that it happened. The Arab slave trade existed long before we ever got involved in it, and many Africans were selling their fellow Africans to many races not just early Americans.

I understand the point that is being made here by many of you, but being such a lover of history (especially US) it really sticks in my craw when people fall back on the crimes of
"Western colonial powers" and say that's where it all started.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 4:06 PM on February 16, 2008


The most reasonable definition of racism is the one that most people use. It was completely idiotic of you to go off on this rant simply because people used a term in the sense that it's ordinarily used.

There is institutional racism and personal racism. When, because of all pervading institutional racism, a victimized member of a race turns to personal racism it shouldn't be such a big deal. It's just words without power, why get upset? Even in the odd case when it is violence against one person from the ruling race, sure it's bad luck for that person, but don't worry the institutions will see that justice is done and the big picture remains unchanged.

Your over-simplified history is very over-simplified.

I'm not actually American but a New Zealander where we have a similar tale - the Maori are the indigenous population and have suffered the effects of colonisation. A treaty [the Treaty of Waitangi] was signed between the British and the Maori and the meaning of that treaty is still debated but like America the colonizers "won" and the European system of society was set up and Maori suffer from higher imprisonment rates, lower life expetency, higher child mortality, lower average wage...all the usual statistics when a race has an inappropriate system foisted upon them.
posted by meech at 4:52 PM on February 16, 2008


aspo - Not all mainstream culture is by white
Yeah, I tend to agree actually. Mainstream culture is American culture and it can belong to everybody and everybody can have a part of it. Nonetheless it tends to privilege white skinned people. Still, I think it is a possibility that there could be somethiing called white culture that is discrete from American culture as a whole, specific to white skin people, not dealing with skin privilege or its effects, and not correlated more strongly with other things like class. Is there such a thing? I'm really not sure, but Serial killing and blaming your parents do spring to mind.
posted by BinGregory at 5:30 PM on February 16, 2008


sticks in my craw when people fall back on the crimes of "Western colonial powers" and say that's where it all started.

Me as well. It simply does not help. The etymology of the word "slave" should be highly enlightening for instance. Western colonial powers didn't invent slavery. Western colonial powers didn't invent the institutional and systematic dehumanization of peoples.

They were just really GOOD at it.

The fact is everybody has a certain amount of obscene darkness dwelling within. Any demagogue, any nationalistic paternal figure, any profit conglomerate can bring it out and create chaos.

Laying such intrinsic human weakness all on the door step of one society, one time, and one race is not only obscenely insulting it's blind stupid and won't solve a god damned thing.
posted by tkchrist at 5:47 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Laying such intrinsic human weakness all on the door step of one society, one time, and one race is not only obscenely insulting it's blind stupid and won't solve a god damned thing.

But it's satisfying. And above all, it means you never actually have to think: in any situation, you know exactly who's to blame and why. It's a lot like a good fundamentalist religion that way.
posted by languagehat at 5:52 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


This thread has garnered some support for the post but it's far from unanimous or even approaching unanimous.

This doesn't make any sense. If the support was "unanimous" it wouldn't have been flagged to shit in the first place. But the reasons for flagging it were objectively stupid. Something like 100 (!) Mefites have claimed in some manner to really like this website, and their reasons (when given) have been expressed with far more intelligence than the OMG LAME N RACIST folks. I am baffled by this deletion. An FPP that gets 20 favorites is already well into the top posts of the day category and should stay on the front page. Controversial is not the same thing as bad.

It's amazingly sad that you replaced that deleted video of the guy with silicone filled ball sack by "popular MeTa demand", but not this.

Anyway...

BinGregory and Scarabic make good observations. The system of status symbols that is being mocked by SWPL most certainly is created and maintained by white Americans. (It isn't "universal" or the good or logical product of money or education, it is a culture) More importantly, that culture is implicitly racial. Most of these status symbols, as the website makes clear, are used by one type of educated white person to differentiate themselves, specifically, from the tastes and beliefs of another type of "lesser" white person*. With nonwhites being either fairly inconsequential (which is why there is no pressing need among this same sort of white person to ostentatiously signal they dislike some comedian that lower class black people may like) or as pawns in the white status game.

The website is interesting because it looks at this white status whoring from the perspective of a nonwhite person. The dilemma, as the website sees it, is that conforming to these cultural behaviors may be necessary for nonwhites to join in the social networks that are vital for gaining access to the best jobs, etc. But many of the same cultural behaviors don't have any logical relationship to their nonwhite cultural backgrounds.

For instance let's say one way to get into the "right" sort of white upper class friendship networks is to TALK VERY CONSPICUOUSLY ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU HATE DANE COOK, so that I can signal to the "right" sort of whites how you are like, soooo not the "wrong" sort of white person. This will come very naturally to whites, because these arcane cultural issues are like water is to fish to them; but a nonwhite person, not from this cultural background, would have no reason to know or care about why bragging about disliking some white comedian, or liking some band, or (add pointless status-relevant trait here) will benefit them socially.

I'm sure, for instance, that the "right" kind of black people have ways that they differentiate themselves from the "wrong" kind of black people too, in ways that are personally relevant (and similarly are not even on the radar of most white people). But since these status markers are not relevant to white social networks, they are not as relevant in creating access to jobs and resources for nonwhites.


[*] And Jesus Christ, it is not "crypto-conservative". The point most certainly isn't whether recycling, etc, is good or bad as a behavior, but how it is used by a certain type of person as a status-whoring piece of cultural identity.
posted by dgaicun at 6:01 PM on February 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


When, because of all pervading institutional racism, a victimized member of a race turns to personal racism it shouldn't be such a big deal. It's just words without power, why get upset?

Ah. Yes. Tell that to Kris Kime.

Please tell me your not another apologist for The Black Rage defense.

BTW Jerell Thomas, the man who helped incite a riot and murdered Kime for being white, who pled innocent even though the murder was caught on video tape depicting him hitting the much smaller Kime from behind while Kime attempted to help a up woman Thomas and friends had been beating ealier.

Thomas later had his felony murder conviction overturned and may well be out in three years.

A Hate Crime is a Hate Crime.
posted by tkchrist at 6:03 PM on February 16, 2008


er, should be: "... so that you can signal to the "right" sort of whites how you are like, soooo not the "wrong" sort of white person."
posted by dgaicun at 6:05 PM on February 16, 2008


won't solve a god damned thing.

In New Zealand the government believes that it will solve things. Of course the tribunal has been very controversial, very trying and very long - 33 years and still going but at least the government hasn't thrown its hands up and said, "It all happened 170 years ago, not our problem."

"The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry charged with making recommendations on claims brought by Maori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi" - from the official site.

it means you never actually have to think

But don't you wonder why colonized races always end up at the bottom of the statistics list re: incarceration, mortality, earnings, education?

On preview: Please tell me your not another apologist for The Black Rage defense

I don't think it should change the punishment - he should be giving the going rate for murder. But it doesn't mean that you can't understand why the crime may be different from a white man killing a black man because he is black. Jerrell Thomas' grand-parents may have been forced to sit in a specific part of a restaurant because of their colour, his great grand-parents may have been lynched by the KKK, his great-great-grand parents may have been slaves. Thomas may not be personally aware of this history but his upbringing is directly related to this earlier treatment of blacks.
posted by meech at 6:20 PM on February 16, 2008


Prisons are horribly disproportionately filled with African-American males, and this is obviously because, as meech says, the system is fucked up and there are years and years of economic and social reasons that wind up with black men committing crimes. But that doesn't make them not crimes.

Well, it also doesn't help that they're more likely to go to jail and go to jail for longer periods of time for the same crimes. They're also much more likely to get caught for some crimes like drug use. White people are more likely to self-report drug use, but far less likely to actually be caught. And when they are they get lighter sentences.

For instance let's say one way to get into the "right" sort of white upper class friendship networks is to TALK VERY CONSPICUOUSLY ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU HATE DANE COOK, so that I can signal to the "right" sort of whites how you are like, soooo not the "wrong" sort of white person.

Wtf is this supposed to mean? Black people can't dislike Dane Cook? Black people can't use attitudes about Dane Cook to judge other people? Skin color has nothing to do with attitudes about comedians. You could argue that culture plays a part, but there are many people of all different ethnicities who are involved in mainstream American culture and know who Dane Cook is and have an opinion about him and potentially his fans.

Claiming that only white people can make judgments about him, or about many of the things on that site is exclusionary on the basis of skin color and actually obnoxious.

I have no idea what happened in the middle of this thread, but the beginning seemed to be dominated by people saying "I'm white and I'm not offended, therefore it's not offensive!" But the site is basically claiming that non-white people are and cannot not part of mainstream culture and that their preferences are somehow illegitimate because of their skin color.

The end of the thread appears to be an academic discussion of the nature racism, which is neither here nor there.

This doesn't make any sense. If the support was "unanimous" it wouldn't have been flagged to shit in the first place. Something like 100 (!) Mefites have claimed in some manner to really like this website

So there was a post that could be offensive to minorities and a majority of people found it non-offensive. Wow shocking!
posted by delmoi at 6:34 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Black people can't dislike Dane Cook?

EVERYONE DISLIKES DANE COOK
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:42 PM on February 16, 2008


This is hands-down the funniest thread I've read in months. All those poor, put-upon middle-class white people being very very gently ribbed! Oh no! How terribly racist!

Maybe we should hold a benefit concert featuring the worlds smallest violin. Or a 'Don't Make Fun of White People, You'll Hurt Their Feelings Awareness Day'.

All the earnest discussion, the debates about what racism is, the two or three white people who were able to dig up an anecdote about actually being discriminated against or assaulted for reasons they believe were related to their whiteness! Absolute comedy gold!

It's a mildly amusing site poking low-key fun at some stereotypes about white middle class people. It's certainly no lamer than at least 50% of the dross currently on the front page of the site, and given the reactions here it's resulted vastly more interesting and amusing discussion than any of them.

Educational too! I mean who knew about all those poor oppressed grad-students struggling to make it in a black man's world?
posted by imbecile at 6:43 PM on February 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


All the earnest discussion, the debates about what racism is, the two or three white people who were able to dig up an anecdote about actually being discriminated against or assaulted for reasons they believe were related to their whiteness! Absolute comedy gold!

Uh, wait, so you were chuckling over people getting the shit beat out of them? Well, aren't you a fucking asset to the community!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:47 PM on February 16, 2008


Wtf is this supposed to mean? Black people can't dislike Dane Cook? Black people can't use attitudes about Dane Cook to judge other people? Skin color has nothing to do with attitudes about comedians.

Um, no, delmoi, it's not that they can't, it's that they are almost entirely removed from the cultural white people status politics of Dane Cook.

For all I know in Slovakia the "right" kind of educated, upper class Slovakian likes a comedian known as Jozef Tiso, while the "wrong" type of Slovakian like a comedian known as Svätopluk the Cable Guy.

This of course doesn't mean I too cannot dislike Svätopluk the Cable Guy, but there is a good chance, that even if I moved to Slovakia, even with my professional skills, I just wouldn't give a shit about the status politics of Slovakian comedians or even pick up on them.

This might hurt my opportunities there. As it probably does with nonwhite Americans who do not want to or are not aware of the status politics that whites have largely created.


So there was a post that could be offensive to minorities and a majority of people found it non-offensive. Wow shocking!

As far as I can tell, the only people getting offended by this website are a bunch of upperclass white people who obviously don't get it.
posted by dgaicun at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2008


Ah. Yes. Tell that to Kris Kime.

Please tell me your not another apologist for The Black Rage defense.


tkchrist: What the hell does that have to do with anything? According to Wikipedia Jerell Thomas was released because the state changed it's laws in general, such that the attack no longer counted as "murder." It sounds like the same thing would have happened if the attacker and victim had been members of any race. It's a bit tiring when people people dig up instances of black on white crime and claim they are all hate crimes or whatever. I have no idea what that story has to do with "black rage" or how changing a law is "defending black rage"

And what is the argument here, black people sometimes beat up whites, therefore we need to have a post talking about how minorities are not a part of mainstream American culture?
posted by delmoi at 6:53 PM on February 16, 2008


I think this thread needs a flameout, jeesh. 400 comments? The most of us are the targets of the linked satire, and the most of us are reflective enough to laugh about it. It got deleted. Feh. I don't think any comment here is going to win the argument, or even contribute to the discussion all that much.

Feel guilty about your whiteness? Have an axe to grind? Perhaps we could start something on the wiki.
posted by localhuman at 7:03 PM on February 16, 2008


Um, no, delmoi, it's not that they can't, it's that they are almost entirely removed from the cultural white people status politics of Dane Cook.

Can you explain to me how I'm "removed from the status politics of Dane cook" Because it doesn't seem like I can't form an opinion about someone based on their appreciation or lack thereof of Dane Cook. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Please explain it too me dgaicun.

(For the record, I thought he was pretty funny a couple of years ago, before he was cool. His movies have seemed pretty low-brow recently)

This of course doesn't mean I too cannot dislike Svätopluk the Cable Guy, but there is a good chance, that even if I moved to Slovakia, even with my professional skills, I just wouldn't give a shit about the status politics of Slovakian comedians or even pick up on them.

Sure, and most Slovakians probably don't have a view on Dane Cook either. But here's the thing Slovakians are actually white. So what are you trying to say? There are hundreds of millions of whites who are not part of mainstream American culture, and there are tens of millions of non-whites who are.
posted by delmoi at 7:03 PM on February 16, 2008


Racism is propagated by white people against people of color. Racism is a product of white supremacy. Claiming that someone is "racist" against white people is to appropriate the term in a very sinister way.

Prejudice without power is not racism.


Well, maybe there's something to that, but power is not ubiquitously white. Go experience racism in China, where non-white people hold the power and have absolutely no problem dehumanizing you based on the color of your skin. Racism is a global phenomenon. And while it hinges on power, it is not the exclusive property of the most powerful ethnic class in America. We all know that asians can be racist against blacks, that blacks can be racist against jews, that jews can be racist toward... well shit... I just got back from Israel so don't get me started.

Point being that racism is not defined as "American whites looking down on others," it's better defined as "class leverage pressed by one group against another along ethinic boundaries." You've got a better chance of applying that leverage if you've got power. But any power will do. A pocket of local power is enough.

Speaking of racism worldwide, I would have to say that white Americans are most notable in that they have a serious self-reflecting problem with their racism, even as they practice it. Racism is an entrenched and accepted norm in many parts of the world, hardly even questioned. The half-assed self questioning of American whites is preferable by far. A few generations with that kind of door ajar and you will see real, permanent change.
posted by scarabic at 7:06 PM on February 16, 2008


Slovakians are actually white.

Jesus Christ you are dumb! Amazing.
posted by dgaicun at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2008


White people love overthinking shit. Seriously, who is still here and actively commenting?
posted by Eideteker at 7:08 PM on February 16, 2008


Um...you?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:09 PM on February 16, 2008


Jesus Christ you are dumb! Amazing.

Actually I think you're pretty much retarded too. But could you explain exactly why you hold this opinion?
posted by delmoi at 7:09 PM on February 16, 2008


Also, I really do want to know why you think I'm "removed from the status politics of Dane cook" I really do want you to explain it to me.
posted by delmoi at 7:11 PM on February 16, 2008


How many of you are listening to NPR right now . . . on your ibook, after pedalling your white ass down to the local fair trade coffee shop? You should try the Oolong Tea as your post your next thoughtful comment on this topic . . . then get some sushi; ok I'm done :p
posted by nola at 7:22 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh and thank you for the reply, cortex. I believe you are telling the truth about your thought process of course. Think about this, though. The site is full of low quality posts that don't really cut it. But they don't all get deleted. The ones that do get pulled are the ones that have something slightly offensive or controversial about them - those can stay up, but they have to be funny enough to warrant keeping them. They have to rise above whatever controversial element they have.

I brought up my aquarium post because it was pretty sub-par, but it was utterly uncontroversial. I would challenge you to think long and hard over this deletion and decide if it was pulled because it wasn't funny enough, or because it wasn't funny enough to override all the flagging. If the latter, then the deletion is in some measure a response to the flagging. So what was the complaint implied by the flagging? I can't believe a post gets "heavily flagged" because its humor falls short of a knee slap.

When a post gets heavily flagged, you have to do some kind of interpreting, right? Flagging is a blunt instrument. So you have to be wondering "what are they flagging?" And then you must proceed to evaluate if there is a real complaint there. Right?
posted by scarabic at 7:27 PM on February 16, 2008


You all realize, of course, that all non-whites the world over are pointing and laughing at this thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:51 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


. . . and that is when I said to her, ' let us get some flapjax covered in butter and syrup but not a moment before midnite' and she said "Fuck that let us get some of those crispy good jax right F***ing now." What could I do?
posted by nola at 7:54 PM on February 16, 2008


so how many of you have turned yourself into cockroaches so far?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:08 PM on February 16, 2008


What could I do?

Indeed, there is nothing to be done but... surrender. Sweet, sweet surrender.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:24 PM on February 16, 2008


Four hundred earnest comments seeking the answer to what is Racism really, like so many plastic pop bottles crushed into a cube the size of a truck, now up against a fence and dripping rain behind a warehouse, waiting to be recycled into the fill for our sleeping bags.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:33 PM on February 16, 2008


I'd just like to point out that if, as we have learned in this thread:
  • pyramid termite's oppressed Irish ancestors weren't "white" in the cultural sense of the day, and
  • The modern decendents of those Irish folk are now considered white, and
  • all white people bear the guilt of the oppressor regardless of their individual complicity in any act of oppression, then:
pyramid termite is in fact guilty of oppressing his own ancestors, and by extension, himself.

Glad we cleared that up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:38 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I never thought I'd miss the sexism callouts, but here we are.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:05 PM on February 16, 2008


"Something like 100 (!) Mefites have claimed in some manner to really like this website, and their reasons (when given) have been expressed with far more intelligence than the OMG LAME N RACIST folks."

Sez you. I'm sure there are people (both white and Mexican) who really, sincerely like Carlos Mencia.

But where you saw "intelligence," I saw a buncha ad hominem bullshit—which is exactly what all of the "You only don't like it because it's aimed at you" shit is—and an amazing lack of the funny.
posted by klangklangston at 9:10 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite is in fact guilty of oppressing his own ancestors, and by extension, himself

well, my parents were my ancestors and i oppressed the hell out of them - just ask my mom - she'll tell you all about it

the time that i decided to epater le bourgeois by smearing my shit all over the basement walls and my alphabet blocks was a mere footnote in my campaign to express my white superiority and privilege over my not quite white yet irish parents

of course, my argument that she was practicing some kind of reverse racism by objecting failed to prevent her from raising her consciousness and her hairbrush and bringing them down hard upon my posterior

later, my attempt to "move to a better neighborhood" by pedaling my tricycle as fast as i could was prevented in the interest of multiculturalism - i had to face up to it - they would have to tolerate some loud noises and dumb questions and i would have to tolerate their culture, even to the point of eating peas and broccoli

it took a few years, but in time, i was persuaded that it was not a debasing thing to do domestic, lower-class work such as washing the dishes, mowing the lawn and taking out the trash

i can only hope that my transition from privileged whiteness to tolerant irish-americaness can serve as an inspiration to others, although i admit i still have bad days - why tonight, my mouth was oppressing my liver with guinness

before i'm accused of utter frivolity, i leave you with these words of wisdom

"Do you know what you are?
You are what you is
You is what you am
(A cow don't make ham . . . )
You ain't what you're not
So see what you got
You are what you is
An' that's all it 'tis"

accept it and don't be a jerk about it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 PM on February 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Most of this thread is like the Metafilter version of a late summer Major League Baseball game where the head coach sends out the junior varsity team and just hopes for the best.
posted by psmith at 9:30 PM on February 16, 2008


Skin color has nothing to do with attitudes about comedians.

Untrue, as anyone who has walked by the movie theater in my neighborhood the weekend a Tyler Perry movie opens could tell you. Meanwhile, according to Freakanomics, Seinfeld was never in the top 50 shows among black Americans.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:43 PM on February 16, 2008


I'm not read the whole thread, but I'll just make this comment:

The original post wasn't about "What White People Like". It was about "What upper middle-class educated suburbanites like." There's nothing in any of those posts that had anything to do with race. It's almost entirely to do with class. So the racism wasn't against white people, it was against non-white people, who are assumed not to even exist in that strata of society, when in fact they do.

Also, the thread sucked.
posted by empath at 10:08 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was about "What upper middle-class educated suburbanites like." There's nothing in any of those posts that had anything to do with race. It's almost entirely to do with class.

Which falls prey to "the unmarked category" fallacy noted above. Except whites are not only the big US majority, but overrepresented still at the upper class where status is defined, and it is defined disproportionately by their own interests and for their own purposes, and in reference to their own cultural backgrounds. (cultural backgrounds which have little relevance to nonwhites) Yes, whites don't have all the power, but they have most of it.

Class symbols do not define themselves. They are defined by the people that comprise those classes. Status symbols are defined by the interests of those that have power, and cultural and ethnic interests are part of that. Educated white American ethnic culture and interests are largely built into the litany of American status symbols. So the idea that the most common current American status symbols (many of which are alien even to upper class non-Americans) would be the same if African-Americans were 50% or 90% of the upper class is ludicrous. It is ethnocentric because it considers white American cultural expressions "normal" and somehow universal or inevitable or natural, when they are anything but.

So you are just plain wrong that "There's nothing in any of those posts that had anything to do with race. It's almost entirely to do with class". There is, necessarily, an intersection between race and class, much of it remains to be examined, and that website is good because it is rare satirical look at it.
posted by dgaicun at 11:08 PM on February 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


By the way, there seems to be common theme among critics in this thread that it's racist to suggest that *gasp* white Americans are overwhelmingly defining upperclass American culture and pretensions. As if such a claim is denying that there are any upperclass nonwhites or that they have/had any part in defining this culture, or that they do not or can not participate in it. Give me a break. It is far more racist to downplay the extent of white American cultural power in America, or try to define it out of existence.
posted by dgaicun at 11:17 PM on February 16, 2008



By the way, there seems to be common theme among critics in this thread that it's racist to suggest that *gasp* white Americans are overwhelmingly defining upperclass American culture and pretensions.


I didn't pick up on that "common theme" among critics in this thread, sorry.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 11:39 PM on February 16, 2008


dgaicun, pretty much everything on Stuff White People Like is middle class. Or maybe I'm doing better than I thought I was.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:53 PM on February 16, 2008


dgaicun: I'm still waiting for you to explain why I couldn't possibly use appreciation of Dane Cook as a cultural signifier because I have brown skin. You are obviously a very literate and astute observer of human nature, an anthropological mind on par with Jane Goodal undoubtedly, or at least smarter then me! Please explain it, I am vary curious!
posted by delmoi at 11:58 PM on February 16, 2008


I didn't pick up on that "common theme" among critics in this thread, sorry.

Here ya go:

I'm still waiting for you to explain why I couldn't possibly use appreciation of Dane Cook as a cultural signifier because I have brown skin.
posted by dgaicun at 12:07 AM on February 17, 2008


dgaicun: But sure you can explain it right? I mean, you're the one who said it.
posted by delmoi at 12:14 AM on February 17, 2008


(And, while I know you are very smart, a keen observer of inter-racial dynamics and all, I do have to point out that I was responding to something you said in that comment, not the blog itself)
posted by delmoi at 12:18 AM on February 17, 2008


I would challenge you to think long and hard over this deletion and decide if it was pulled because it wasn't funny enough, or because it wasn't funny enough to override all the flagging. If the latter, then the deletion is in some measure a response to the flagging. So what was the complaint implied by the flagging? I can't believe a post gets "heavily flagged" because its humor falls short of a knee slap.

I'm not sure what you're suggesting is the proper vs. improper decision-making process here. Should we not remove posts that (a) we think aren't very good and that (b) a lot of people on the site seem to think aren't good, just because (c) we could presume that too large a proportion of the people who dislike the post dislike it for reasons that aren't sufficiently self-aware and ego-destroying?

The deletion is absolutely in some measure a response to the flagging. I've said so a number of times already, and I'm not sure why that would be surprising or upsetting. It's not specifically or primarily a response to my personal speculation that the flagging was motivated by x% Racially Offended White Folk vs y% People Who Thought It Sucked In General; I can't suss that out, based on the raw flags and don't care to do a one-by-one poll to figure it out. It was sufficient for me that the post struck me as not good and that it got a large number of flags; that's one common recipe for deletion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:22 AM on February 17, 2008


jessamyn writes "Academically, as the word has been studied and as power and race issues have been analyzed and understood through scholarship, racism is something that the dominant class perpetuates on an underclass. This includes the systematic generations of oppression and disenfranchisement in addition to the general stupid one-off bigoted comments like people always toss into these threads. "

This sounds like Racism in scholarship has a definition that so specific as to be jargon. No different than the difference between shackle and clevis; cracker and hacker; spot and park; or coupler and union. These terms mean something very specific to riggers, hackers, truckers or plumbers only sort of related to how the general public uses the terms.

Baby_Balrog writes "In this sense, a black person cannot said to be 'racist' because they are not a member of the dominant group - it is not possible for them to 'use' racism to maintain power over white society. That's a non sequitur."

How is this playing out in places like South Africa and Zimbabwe?

delmoi writes "According to Wikipedia Jerell Thomas was released because the state changed it's laws in general, such that the attack no longer counted as 'murder.' It sounds like the same thing would have happened if the attacker and victim had been members of any race."

Amazingly no talk page for that entry. And according to the page he wasn't just released. The state tried him again for manslaughter instead of murder and was convicted and returned to prison.

George_Spiggott writes "pyramid termite is in fact guilty of oppressing his own ancestors, and by extension, himself."

Ya, I have this problem too, the white part keeping the native part down.
posted by Mitheral at 12:55 AM on February 17, 2008


This is still going on? Get a job or have some kids or something. Go spay neuter and declaw your fat people, people. Go outside.
posted by Mister_A at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had never heard of Dane Cook until this thread. Does that mean I can't be white?

On the other hand, I love Svätopluk the Cable Guy!
posted by languagehat at 9:27 AM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


my personal speculation that the flagging was motivated by x% Racially Offended White Folk vs y% People Who Thought It Sucked In General; I can't suss that out

Okay, that's a thoughtful answer. But there is a "racism" label in the flags. Are you saying no one chose it? If no one chose it, I'd say it was a chorus of "this is lame," and you probably can suss that out. If people did choose it, you've got your x% racially offended. Do you guys not view that data when moderating? Can you check it now and see, just out of curiosity?

I've never been a huge fan of deleting for "quality." The thread is always the attraction for me anyway, not the post. And all such judgments are tricky, and, as you say, inconsistent.

Maybe we need a general "low quality" flag like Digg has if we're going to begin interpreting flags as protests to the quality of the post. I love that "Okay, this is lame." button. Matt always said he didn't want to implement voting on the site but if we're using flags and favorites to do it anyway, indistinct flags interpreted ad hoc by a mod... that's just a poor algorithm.
posted by scarabic at 9:52 AM on February 17, 2008


I'd pretty much never heard of Dane Cook either, until I saw David Cross live. So now I don't know if I'm out of the club or whiter than white.
posted by scarabic at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2008


I'm a 30 year old white male. I flagged it as racist because I think it's "racist" to call out any one race for mocking. I'm from racially-diverse, poor, rural southern Virginia, and this is how I was brought up. I would have flagged Stuff Black People Like, Stuff Latino People Like, Stuff Asians Like, Stuff Indians Like, and anything else similar.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:15 AM on February 17, 2008


based on the raw flags and don't care to do a one-by-one poll to figure it out

Sorry, you did say this but it didn't register the first time. So the flag reasons aren't used then? That's too bad. Why collect the info?

I'm kind of chuckling over your response, now: 'Land sakes, boy, I don't know what the damn flags mean,' which is funny because you guys present this feature where we're supposed to tell you what they mean. And then when prompted to use the data we give you, you toss up your hands and say it's a pain and you don't care to.

Just sayin'. This could be better.
posted by scarabic at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2008


But there is a "racism" label in the flags. Are you saying no one chose it? If no one chose it, I'd say it was a chorus of "this is lame," and you probably can suss that out. If people did choose it, you've got your x% racially offended. Do you guys not view that data when moderating? Can you check it now and see, just out of curiosity?

Part of the difficulty here is that is no "racism" flag; there's an "offensive/sexism/racism" flag that is a modified version of what used to be simply the "offensive" flag. There also used to be a "noise" flag, but we pulled that one out a while back when stripping things down.

So it's not a problem where I didn't look at the types of flags—yeah, that's something we at least glance at, though the difference between 30 flags and 3 flags is a lost more important than the difference between a "breaks the guidelines" flag and an o/s/r flag—so much as a problem that I can't, honestly, say what percentage of the o/s/r flags were primarily or even significantly about the "racism" portion.

One thing I have taken from talking to people about how they flag is that everybody does it different. Some folks don't like to use "breaks the guidelines" for anything that doesn't really clearly and specifically break a rule, like self-links or stunt posts. Other folks use(s) "offensive" for "crap on its own merits" to distinguish from "crap for external contextual reason x", and so on. That's why we use flags as a guide without presuming, or really needing, to know exactly what motivated each person to make each flag. It's a gestalt tool, a measure of magnitude but more of a sketch than anything of motivations. And in my opinion it works pretty well that way.

I've never been a huge fan of deleting for "quality." The thread is always the attraction for me anyway, not the post. And all such judgments are tricky, and, as you say, inconsistent.

And I can dig that. I basically disagree; I think deleting for some base level of not being great is an important thing around here, and in an alternate universe with a different site history I think we'd do more of it than we do. But I know that's an opinion on a continuum; there are folks who would never delete anything, and folks who would delete half or more of what gets posted to the front page. The prevailing compromise has been "delete stuff that really kinda sucks" for a long time now.

Matt always said he didn't want to implement voting on the site but if we're using flags and favorites to do it anyway, indistinct flags interpreted ad hoc by a mod... that's just a poor algorithm.

One of the benefits of it, though, is that it's only in the most euphemistic sense an algorithm at all. I don't like the idea of visible up-/down-voting on mefi posts, especially as something that's expected to automatically stick, act as a thresholded judgement, because I think it puts way too much attention on specifically that meta-activity. Flags are fire and forget, favorites don't get things deleted; there's less to reinforce the folks who basically want an excuse to make comments deriding a post, an activity that already isn't my favorite thing to see on the site. Adding in an element of "see! See how much it sucks!" or direct vote-by-vote demands to the mods for Quantifiable Inconsistency? Bleh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:20 AM on February 17, 2008


Amazingly no talk page for that entry. And according to the page he wasn't just released. The state tried him again for manslaughter instead of murder and was convicted and returned to prison.

Right, he was reconvicted, but under the new charge he is eligible to be released in a few years, since he already spent X number of years in jail, and gets time off for his previous good behavior. Not sure what that story has to do with this thread.
posted by delmoi at 11:05 AM on February 17, 2008


I've never been a huge fan of deleting for "quality." The thread is always the attraction for me anyway, not the post. And all such judgments are tricky, and, as you say, inconsistent.

I kind of agree. One good example would be that "crags list flasher" thread where lots of women were posting stories about being flashed, etc, and when the thread was deleted there was all this outrage. I think the outrage was appropriate. If I do think mods should check the discussion and see if it's any good before deleting a thread. However, there are lots of lame threads with uninteresting discussions, I don't think that conversation was great, mostly a bunch of jokes.

I think mefites could have an interesting discussion about anything, but too many lame posts would make the front page pretty boring. On the other hand, if a thread has an excellent discussion it would suck to get rid of it.

Perhaps it would be possible to remove threads from the front page without closing off the conversation? Maybe even have a "back page" for posts that are not front-page worthy but things people are interested in talking about?

Maybe we need a general "low quality" flag like Digg has if we're going to begin interpreting flags as protests to the quality of the post. I love that "Okay, this is lame." button.

Actually, I do flag things I find boring or lame as "other".
posted by delmoi at 11:19 AM on February 17, 2008


Amazing—you must be the only one who still has an Other flag.
posted by languagehat at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2008


Maybe even have a "back page" for posts that are not front-page worthy but things people are interested in talking about?

Kuro5hin has that, and involved voting algorithms. Kuro5hin died.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:59 AM on February 17, 2008


you must be the only one who still has an Other flag.

Nope.
posted by Wolof at 1:58 PM on February 17, 2008


I proudly fly mine from the flagpole in front of my house.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on February 17, 2008


tkchrist: What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Delmoi, I was just too tired to give all the backstory about the Kris Kime case.

Jerell Thomas first attempted to mount the Black Rage defense as excuse why he and his gang of thugs went down to Pioneer Square to "get on some white people." His excuse for deliberately targeting and murdering a human being due to that human beings skin color was that it was the cumulative effect of centuries of black oppression. IE Black Rage. He also plead innocent and had the tentative support of NAACP chapter in this town, initially. This defense had some sort of popular traction. I guess many people think targeting people due to their skin color is no big deal. As long as it is the correct skin color.

Any way. At the time many were claiming this murder a Hate Crime, though I'm not sure if that had yet passed the state Hate Crimes statute yet. It was ironic that it was the black community mostly resistant to this idea.

Yes. The conviction was overturned because of the federal murder law fuck up. But the point was IF Jerell was convicted under Hate Crimes, not second degree frigg'n manslaughter, he would still be in jail. Now he will be out this year.

This was a HATE CRIME, delmoi. If anything is, this was.

But some people here seem to think that only white people are capable of racial crimes. You get me? The irony is so thick metafilter should be choking on it.

The original poster I responded to was saying it's "no big deal" when a non-white commits a racial crime - in THIS case murder - because justice will be done by the power class. But in this case justice could not be done.

So in essence the Black Rage defense (though I don't think it was fully pursued beyond it's initial PR value) was successful maybe because of this twisted apologist belief that only white people can be racist.

I wanted to provide a specific case to show how fucked up this divisive idea should be to a principled person claiming to be concerned with issues of race and justice in this world. The idea is in fact racist itself.
posted by tkchrist at 5:54 PM on February 17, 2008


Just chiming in that I, too, would like to see this FPP restored. Even just for the fact that it starts an interesting conversation. (I know, I know... Metafilter is not about the discussion. sheesh.)

Also, just because people are disagreeing doesn't make this a bad thread. I don't think anyone is trolling - and I think suggesting so is a cheap cop-out to avoid discussing the issue. I enjoy reading MeTa in part because I like reading the opinions of really smart people discussing things like racism/sexism/etc. A lot of different experiences/opinions come up, and reading the back and forth is really valuable for me. The community aspect of Metafilter is a huge part of why I like this site so much - Metafilter is more than just "best of the web" for me.
posted by lunit at 7:04 PM on February 17, 2008


For what it's worth, I emailed the guy behind Stuff White People Like & directed him to this thread. He apparently read some or all of it & mentioned that he's getting abuse & support in equal measures, but wasn't interested in weighing in on the debate.

Of course, my ulterior motive was to get my "#70: Fighting Other People's Symbolic Battles" posted on his blog, after which I would link it here & do a little victory dance for most of the rest of the year.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:50 PM on February 17, 2008


Just chiming in that I, too, would like to see this FPP restored. Even just for the fact that it starts an interesting conversation.

Based on the diuscussion we're having right here? Can't say I agree.
posted by Artw at 7:54 PM on February 17, 2008


The original poster I responded to was saying it's "no big deal" when a non-white commits a racial crime - in THIS case murder - because justice will be done by the power class. But in this case justice could not be done.

Okay, if true that's obviously pretty ridiculous, of course if black people go out attacking whites based on racial animus they should charged with hate crimes. That said I find it hard to believe the NAACP would defend someone claiming that defense. I also find it pretty hard to believe that the African American community would be opposed to hate crimes laws. I also think a lot of that stuff would have been on the wikipedia page if it were true.

Googling the name mostly brings up pages about a football player with the same name, and a couple of links to racist sites.
posted by delmoi at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2008


I also think a lot of that stuff would have been on the wikipedia page if it were true.

Um. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I hope that you can see what the problem is with THAT statement, delmoi.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:44 PM on February 17, 2008


I also think a lot of that stuff would have been on the wikipedia page if it were true.

I sure hope you are not calling me a liar here.

Wikipedia is hardly infallible or immune to whatever political bias.

I was here in Seattle for the whole thing. And it was ugly. Most of the initial story got lost behind the law suit against the City for it's inept handling of the riot itself which was a very juicy less touchy story for the press.

But what I say is true. The Black Rage defense thing I believe was pretty much abandoned once the public at large viewed the video tape of the beating. AFAIK it was the head of the local chapter of the NAACP (and city politicians) here in Seattle pretty who much fell all over himself trying to make the attacks a non-racial motivated event until statements by the defendants made it clear that it was. Not that he came out and echoed the Rage defense line publicly. But the implication was sure there.

How can you say that members of the black community in the US haven't been resistant to Hate Crimes legislation. Do you know many black baptist churches shamefully joined the evangelical coalitions that lobbied in this state (and others) to exclude gays and Lesbians from Hate Crimes protection? Hate Crimes issue has become a political tool that identity politicians have been using to manipulated communities. Only certain types of hate seem matter.

Regardless. Don't believe me. I don't care. This is hardly the only time such forms of apologia have been put forth and accepted as conventional wisdom. It's not the only time inconvenient truths are denied for a more comfortable and simple "popular" reality.

The larger point still stands.

Giving anybody an excuse for committing horrible racist crimes in unpardonable. Unless we are honest about racism, that it is intrinsic to the human condition and must be dealt with openly and honestly, nothing is going to change.
posted by tkchrist at 9:52 PM on February 17, 2008


I also think a lot of that stuff would have been on the wikipedia page if it were true.

OH SHIT EVERYONE PILE ON NOW
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 PM on February 17, 2008


Sorry folks. Clearly I need to lurk another 7 years or so before I should attempt another post.

The main author of that blog, Clander, by the way, is just a plain old Canadian hipster white person, who apparently fits every single stereotype he documents. If you look at the Flickr stream on the side of the blog, he is the guy called Christian, and you can see 9 million pictures of him eating taken by his wife. You will never be able to find a better use of your time.

The other author, Mylosh, is a mixed Chinese-Philippine Canadian.

And just for the fucker of it, here is a deleted entry from the blog to match my post: #65 Pretending to Know Everything
posted by fucker at 10:55 PM on February 17, 2008


Are we at the part where we longboat the thread?

We just don't do that enough anymore.
posted by spiderskull at 12:03 AM on February 18, 2008


Now that Matt has implemented the Sonar of "Recent Activity" you just can't hide anymore. One of my favorite threads was where one user posted to either MeTa or AskMe, got no response and after it rolled off the page started a dialogue with himself. If anyone has that gem bookmarked please put up the cite.
posted by caddis at 6:59 AM on February 18, 2008


Um. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I hope that you can see what the problem is with THAT statement, delmoi.

Er, right. obviously Wikipedia isn't going to be necessarily complete or accurate. Although I have noticed that on 'controversial' topics, all sides will make it a point to make sure their 'facts' end up in the article.

I sure hope you are not calling me a liar here.

Hmm didn't we have whole MeTa thread about whether your were a liar or not, and determine that you were?

Anyway, there isn't much on the web to verify your version of the story, and the way you initially framed it you made it sound as though the guy basically had the support of everyone with this "Black Rage defense", that the local NAACP supported it, that he was released early because of it, etc. None of that makes any sense, and as such, probably isn't true. You're already backpedaling a little bit as well.

And look, obviously it could be a Hate Crime. I certainly don't dispute that. What's not credible is the idea that anyone would be any sort of broad based support for what he did. That's absurd. Looking back over the thread I see that meech wrote this:
There is institutional racism and personal racism. When, because of all pervading institutional racism, a victimized member of a race turns to personal racism it shouldn't be such a big deal. It's just words without power, why get upset? Even in the odd case when it is violence against one person from the ruling race, sure it's bad luck for that person, but don't worry the institutions will see that justice is done and the big picture remains unchanged.
Clearly, that's pretty ridiculous, and I suppose your point was that sometimes justice is not served? That's a reasonable point, but don't go acting like most people are OK with the idea that People can get "Black Rage" and go beating up white people and that's perfictly fine. It's an absurd supposition.
posted by delmoi at 7:53 AM on February 18, 2008


Now that Matt has implemented the Sonar of "Recent Activity" you just can't hide anymore.

Yeah. Now you have to make a thread SO BANAL that no mod sees the need to comment in it and nothing happens enough to warrant any sort of "hey check this out" flagging.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:58 AM on February 18, 2008


Found it:

Ya know, JJ,

Yes Jim?

Thirty days is an awfully long time to hang out in a thread. I'm going to be way bored with this long before it gets archived.
posted by Jim Jones at 5:11 AM on February 20 [+] [!]

posted by caddis at 2:17 PM on February 18, 2008


That Jim Jones is a really funny guy. Too bad he apparently left MeFi in April 2005.
posted by sveskemus at 2:32 PM on February 18, 2008


, and determine that you were?

WE did? Not I don't think WE did.

I wasn't even in town for most of that shit fest. I never had a sigle chance to defend myself untill it had spun out of control.

Though I had several advocates who supported many of my stories. MWhybark being one. Who KNOWS me, personally. But Jesus. You are so petty and bitter. Is that really relevant? I suppose I have to post my personal stories to wikipedia now?

Go head hold your pathetic grudges and dredge up and utterly mis-characterize an ancient call-out in which I was supported more than not just so you don't look like an asshole now.

I'll remember this, delmoi.
posted by tkchrist at 6:48 PM on February 18, 2008


dun Dun DUNNN!!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:19 PM on February 18, 2008


You just LOOOVE to start shit, don't you Alvy.
posted by tkchrist at 10:41 PM on February 18, 2008


Dun dun DUNNN!!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:38 AM on February 19, 2008


You just LOOOVE to start shit, don't you Alvy.

What can I say, when yer a rough and tumble no-goodnik like yers truly, ya just can't help yerself sometimes.

*Rolls cigarette pack up in T-shirt sleeve, runs comb through heavily greased hair, cranks up Bill Hailey & The Comets*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:40 AM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You were that kid who threw rocks at the wasps nest weren't you?

In my gang that was Jamie Hendersen. We would be sit'n there minding our own, sipping on our Hawaiian Punch Slurpee's in the side woods when Hendersen when come screaming around the corner embankment right at us. "B-lining" if you will. Hands waving about his pudgy little face.

"BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!"

It is a little known scientific fact that partially frozen molecules of Hawaiian Punch is pretty much an industrial electro-magnet for bees.
posted by tkchrist at 1:16 PM on February 19, 2008


Oh, sure, tkchrist. Use SCIENCE on us why don't you.
posted by cgc373 at 8:31 PM on February 19, 2008


Huh, I wasn't sure if you were serious or not, and still aren't; your tone was pointed, but the implication that I'm some sort of serial provocateur, rather than a run of the mill MeTa chucklehead, combined with the LOOOVE muddied the water a tad. If it's the latter, consider my Greaser response to be me playing along. If the former, take it as an example that I don't take MeTa or myself very seriously, and you probably shouldn't either.

If you object to people commenting in regards to or making light of something you say on a public forum, you should probably take your "I'll remember this"'s to email or that MeMail all the cool kids are using these days. If you object to me in particular commenting in regards to or making light of something you say on a public forum, damned if I know why. Feel free to email - or MeMail! - me the reason, so's I can be in on the joke.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:13 PM on February 19, 2008


Frankly, the thought that I remind you of a kid who didn't know the difference between wasps and bees is a little hurtful.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:13 PM on February 19, 2008


Clearly, that's pretty ridiculous

To claim that all racism is equal is to view society through the lens of individualism - a concept that America has taken to heart - if I personally did nothing racist then there is nothing to be remedied. It's a valid point of view but one that I, and others in this thread, disagree with. There is a collective and historical responsibility for past racist acts and in dealing with that responsibility we must acknowledge that racism towards us, as the weilders of power, has no real effect in changing the world order.
posted by meech at 7:26 PM on February 20, 2008


Oh, Christ on a cracker... no pun intended. :)

I think the site is hilarious. And I really don't get MetaFilter's post policy - it seems overly subjective, and frankly, the mods are pretty humorless. Most of the links on the front page are crushingly boring. Anyway, I think stuffwhitepeoplelike.com is spot-on about the idiosyncrasies of the people on this site, which should have been a reason to laugh. But of course, "the boring" won out.

Is anyone else out there with me?
posted by notoriousbhc at 9:54 PM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess it's past time for me to acknowledge my complete lack of a sense of humor, and the grim fact of same's complicity in my inevitable downfall. Also, lesbians, amirite?
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:08 PM on February 20, 2008


You are 476 comments and seven years into this, notoriousbhc, but yeah, I'm right here with you. I've been goofin' in this thread more than contributing, but I thought the linked site was funny when it first appeared and stayed funny during its deletions and arguments and counterarguments and drama. I also thought it didn't really matter a whole lot whether it was deleted from MetaFilter, given its prominence ALL OVER THE WEB in the past week or so.
posted by cgc373 at 10:10 PM on February 20, 2008


Also, I've worried about the grim fact of same in cortex's inevitable downfall for a few years. It's endemic, this MeTa worrying. (I don't know what "endemic" means; I just like the word.)
posted by cgc373 at 10:13 PM on February 20, 2008


Is anyone else out there with me?

Couldn't disagree more, you. One way to settle this. Oil ring. Be there. This thread's gonna jump the shark in slippery sapphic style.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:15 PM on February 20, 2008


Ambrosia Voyeur - Oh bring it! ;)

cgc373 - Yes indeed, I've been lurking and posting sporadically on MeFi for around seven years. I guess I'm just a cantankerous old bag. Anyway, the mods here almost rival the level of statist policing that the mods practice on Wikipedia. Anyway, perhaps an oil wrestling match is due... MeFi Mods v. Wikipedia Mods. :)
posted by notoriousbhc at 10:49 PM on February 20, 2008


Is anyone else out there with me?

YEAH! I'm with you. That was what I was trying to say above. Rise post, rise! Like a phoenix and/or Lazarus and/or Jesus. White people like Jesus.
posted by meech at 12:37 AM on February 21, 2008


Standing Still at Concerts? This site is gold. I can't believe my beautiful post was deleted.
posted by chunking express at 5:00 AM on February 21, 2008


it *is* gold.

when i emailed the writer, i said it was the best satire since Suck.com's *Urban Hipsters*

i also cannot believe it was deleted, twice. the "it's funny becoz it's true!" lolz far outweigh any milquetoast objections of "waah, racist!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:13 AM on February 21, 2008


SWPL just had to go to make room for gems like this.
posted by dgaicun at 5:53 AM on February 21, 2008


clander is the author of the blog. he links to Jess's photos. On flicker, jess is jslander. Looking through the photos, looks like Jess is married to Christian. Get it -- c - lander? Also this makes me think he's just making fun of himself, since it's the shot used in "white people like to recycle". If you look through the photos on the blog, you'll see that Christian shows up in 4 or 5 of them. It looks like Jess shows up in one of them.
posted by garlic at 7:08 AM on February 21, 2008


damn it. fucker already said all this. And I thought I was an investigative journalist and shit.
posted by garlic at 7:10 AM on February 21, 2008


it's not funny because, well, it just isn't.
posted by signal at 1:02 PM on February 21, 2008


White people are funny like this...

Wait, no, it still isn't funny. Give up.
posted by pupdog at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2008


To Cortex: heh.

Anyway, humor is subjective. And since SWPL seems to be doing fabulously, a MeFi post isn't necessary. In fact, judging from some of the prissy responses from MeFi, a "FAIL!" from MeFi is directly proportional to popularity on the www. :)
posted by notoriousbhc at 11:16 PM on February 21, 2008


To Cortex: heh.

Man, so that's two deletions in the last few days that have gotten called out as such with reductive commentary on Buzzfeed. (Interestingly, both Buzzfeed callouts went for the sexy [and sympathetic-to-post] Controversy angle instead of the stated "not great" angle.)

So who's the mole?

Anyway, humor is subjective.

Granted. The argument that only one subjective take is actually acceptable becomes a little weird as soon as that given is on the table, though. Eh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:45 AM on February 22, 2008


That website was full of unfounded slander.

[12:13] Contraption: i got paid; let's go out for sushi and lattes! We can take our biodiesel volkswagen!
[12:14] Contraption: then let's give some money to barack obama!
[12:14] AmbrosiaVoyeur: already had my latte at the overpriced vegan deli. :(
[12:14] AmbrosiaVoyeur: don't forget going to the indie theater to watch the Oscar-nominated shorts in lieu of the televised ceremony!
[12:14] Contraption: well will you at least hit the bong and have premarital sex with me?
[12:15] AmbrosiaVoyeur: only if we can use fetishwear sold by internet business startups run by empathetic san francisco queers
[12:15] AmbrosiaVoyeur: i'm blogging this
[12:15] Contraption: can we? can we please?
[12:16] AmbrosiaVoyeur: i love being in an egalitarian relationship with regard to gender. you're a wonderful lifepartner.
[12:16] AmbrosiaVoyeur: we're out of 87% cacao chocolate, by the way
[12:17] Contraption: we have some 72 or thereabouts
[12:17] AmbrosiaVoyeur: we'd better pick some up at the tiny organic food shop with the marquee sign featuring weekly mantras of peace
[12:18] Contraption: i like going there because the clerk plays that lo-fi singer-songwriter we both like
[12:18] AmbrosiaVoyeur: oh and are we going to his new album today, the one pitchfork loved and the onion stupidly panned, clearly not understanding john darnielle's vocal artistry?
[12:18] AmbrosiaVoyeur: or will we just torrent it?
[12:19] Contraption: it's 91% transferred to my laptop here from our fileserver at home. i'll let you know when i hear it
[12:19] AmbrosiaVoyeur: we could go to the independent record store and swing by the head shop for more hookah tobacco on our bikes
[12:19] Contraption: oh, and some more whippits. we're out
[12:20] Contraption: "fetishwear sold by internet business startups run by empathetic san francisco queers"
[12:20] Contraption: got a link?
[12:21] AmbrosiaVoyeur: google it, noob!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:31 PM on February 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


I knew, AV, that there was a good reason not to wipe this from my Recent Activity.
posted by kosem at 1:27 PM on February 22, 2008


"[12:19] Contraption: oh, and some more whippits. we're out"

You know how your mother said if you keep making funny faces one day you'll get stuck like that? Yeah, same thing.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:06 PM on February 22, 2008


i was afraid for a second that AV had stumbled upon my favourite fijian-indian organic yam, taro & kava kava collective, until i saw that bit about peace mantras.

glad it's a different place, because i've never seen another white person in there, and if the whiteys found it, it would totally sell out & be ruined.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:25 PM on February 22, 2008


notoriousbhc writes "In fact, judging from some of the prissy responses from MeFi, a 'FAIL!' from MeFi is directly proportional to popularity on the www. :)"

If popular on MeFi every equals popular on the web and vice versa it'll be time for film at 11.
posted by Mitheral at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2008


That site seems like a retread of the "...you might be a redneck" joke.
posted by Tenuki at 8:12 PM on February 23, 2008


Yulp, "irony-deficient":
"One irony-deficient reader complained that the blog was less about white people than it was about yuppies. And without knowing it, she was cutting to the heart of the joke. Lander is gently making fun of the many progressive, educated, upper-middle-class whites who think they are beyond ethnicity or collectively shared tastes, styles or outlook. He's essentially reminding them that they too are part of a group."
posted by dgaicun at 11:09 AM on February 25, 2008


Now that you have explained the funny, dgaicun, I see it is indeed funny.
Ha.
Ha.
Ha.
posted by signal at 12:32 PM on February 25, 2008


flagged as noise.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:52 PM on February 25, 2008


I want a t-shirt that says "I'm blogging this."
posted by Eideteker at 2:04 PM on February 25, 2008


Threating to move to Canada.
posted by chunking express at 2:09 PM on February 25, 2008


I want a t-shirt that says "I'm blogging this."

That's so 2000.

My tshirt contains a mini camera, voice-to-text transcriber & a GPS unit, and updates my Twitter in real time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 PM on February 25, 2008


I'd update your Twitter in real time, Ubu, but I don't swing that way.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:32 PM on February 25, 2008


Lucky for you.

You'd probably catch a virus, or at least a few bugs.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:31 PM on February 25, 2008


Now that you have explained the funny, dgaicun, I see it is indeed funny.

Thank you, signal; your opinions have been well articulated here, and I appreciate that. I realize that MeFi posts are strictly moderated for humor value, which, as you know, is highly objective to determine.
posted by dgaicun at 6:49 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


NPR weighs in: 'Stuff White People Like' Blog Hits a Nerve.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:08 PM on February 26, 2008


Covered by NPR, Los Angeles Times, National Post and Vice Magazine. Four million hits @ 300,000 per day - looks like there might be something interesting happening on that blog. You'd think someone would do an FPP.
posted by meech at 3:50 PM on February 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


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