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Subject: "Imagine if the Tea Party was Black" by Tim Wise rss

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Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.


Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.
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Quote:
Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her "typical redneck trash," or a "whore" whose mother entertains her by "making monkey sounds." After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as "ghetto trash."


Things like this really make me wonder what is wrong with people. For all the nastiness of politics, I have never understood why people insult children. I find it simultaneously enraging, disgusting, and sad.
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Wait, were these AK-47s and other guns illegal? If so, were these people arrested?

P.S. Did these people learn nothing from MLK, Jr.?
 
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quozl wrote:
Wait, were these AK-47s and other guns illegal? If so, were these people arrested?

P.S. Did these people learn nothing from MLK, Jr.?


Depending on which cross-section of the tea party you look at, one questions whether they learned anything at all ---- ever.

As to the greater article, I think it makes a fair point but descends into sensationalism. Drawing parallels between the Limbaugh and Coulter is somewhat absurd, and to find real world examples one only has to look to Reverend Wright and to some extent, the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton. It is easy to pick at the fringes and find extremes that are ridiculous.
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That should be "Imagine if the Tea Party were Black". Subjunctive mood, bitch. Yeah, I'm Libertarian, but I'm fascist when it comes to grammar.
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My impression is that many of these "imaginary" scenarios occur frequently. (And no one is arrested.)

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bjlillo wrote:
Holy false equivalency and making up facts Batman!


Agreed.

But, I think that the main point of the article stands. A large group of angry black people would almost certainly be viewed differently by both the media and the public. Do you really think that it wouldn't?
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My issue is that the article is about "White Privilege" and it ignores "Black Privilege". It's not a one-way street. US culture lets white people say and do things black people can't and vice-versa. If Chris Rock's routine were done by a white person, this would be totally unacceptable. One also could not have a group NAAWP or a United Caucasian College Fund. I'm not saying both or neither the NAACP or hypothetical NAAWP (or UNCF vs. UCCF) should or should not be allowed. I am saying that to paint the racist attitudes or double standards based on race as all pro-white is non-sense. The issue is far more complex than the article in the OP lets on.
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SpaceGhost wrote:
quozl wrote:
Wait, were these AK-47s and other guns illegal? If so, were these people arrested?

P.S. Did these people learn nothing from MLK, Jr.?


Depending on which cross-section of the tea party you look at, one questions whether they learned anything at all ---- ever.

As to the greater article, I think it makes a fair point but descends into sensationalism. Drawing parallels between the Limbaugh and Coulter is somewhat absurd though, and to find real world examples one only has to look to Reverend Wright and to some extent, the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton.


1. I think you meant to say to find a real world example of the liberal converse, although I'm down with declaring Limbaugh and Coulter to be "not real world".

2. There isn't a large-scale political movement receiving marching orders from Reverend Wright comparable to the Tea Party and the influence exerted on it by folks like Limbaugh, Beck, and Coulter.

3. The Reverend Wright example is, however, very pertinent to the article's point: the people who expressed outrage over his contextless declaration of "God Damn America" often don't even bat an eye at some of the bile coming from the Tea Party movement.

This is the essence of white privilege- the ability to essentially say "God Damn America" and have it excused because it is a legitimate expression of outrage at the stimulus, "Obamacare", etc.

4. The "left" is already generalized and associated with persons like Jackson and Sharpton, so I'm not sure I understand the point.

I agree that not all Tea Partiers can be homogenized as holding the views of some of their more outrageous spokespeople... I don't think speaks to the point of the article though, which is that some of the same statements of some of those extreme few, if placed in the mouth a black person, would precipitate a very different public reaction.
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SpaceGhost wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Holy false equivalency and making up facts Batman!


Agreed.

But, I think that the main point of the article stands. A large group of angry black people would almost certainly be viewed differently by both the media and the public. Do you really think that it wouldn't?

Of course it would.

Yet imagine that white people marched on Washington in any of the rallies to promote the cause of people of their race which black people have had more than once, e.g., the Million Man March. The US has double standards for race and it goes both ways, even with regards just to black and white people.

US politicos need to realize in practical terms that:
1. Not everybody is either black or white and
2. Emphasis on race does not fight racism; it promotes it.
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bjlillo wrote:
Holy false equivalency and making up facts Batman!


1. It's a hypothetical thought experiment.

2. What, pray tell, do you think was made up, and where does the article engage in false equivalencies?
 
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glundee1 wrote:

1. I think you meant to say to find a real world example of the liberal converse, although I'm down with declaring Limbaugh and Coulter to be "not real world".

Yes, that is what I meant. I also can agree with declearing them both non-real world

Quote:

2. There isn't a large-scale political movement receiving marching orders from Reverend Wright comparable to the Tea Party and the influence exerted on it by folks like Limbaugh, Beck, and Coulter.

I don't think the Tea Party receives "marching orders" from these people (with the possible exception of Beck). I think that these people want to ride the Tea Party's coattails to try and cash in on the wave of populism.

Quote:

3. The Reverend Wright example is, however, very pertinent to the article's point: the people who expressed outrage over his contextless declaration of "God Damn America" often don't even bat an eye at some of the bile coming from the Tea Party movement.

This is the essence of white privilege- the ability to essentially say "God Damn America" and have it excused because it is a legitimate expression of outrage at the stimulus, "Obamacare", etc.

I agree, but using national figures to make the point really doesn't make the point at all. I am sure that a white preacher who said "God Damn America" would also be ridiculed. For instance, see the white Colorado professor who lost his job (with tenure -- which is rare) for saying the "chickens were coming home to roost" about 9/11.

Quote:

4. The "left" is already generalized and associated with persons like Jackson and Sharpton, so I'm not sure I understand the point.


The point is that that generalization is as wrong as generalizing the right with Limbaugh and Coulter. Both ends of the extremes are unrepresentative of the majority of the members of either end of the spectrum.

Quote:

I agree that not all Tea Partiers can be homogenized as holding the views of some of their more outrageous spokespeople... I don't think speaks to the point of the article though, which is that some of the same statements of some of those extreme few, if placed in the mouth a black person, would precipitate a very different public reaction.


But, to be equivalent, it would have to be placed in the mouth of an extreme leftist black person. I automatically ignore anything that Rush Limbaugh says. If Olympia Snowe were to say these things, then I may take notice.
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SpaceGhost wrote:

But, to be equivalent, it would have to be placed in the mouth of an extreme leftist black person. I automatically ignore anything that Rush Limbaugh says. If Olympia Snowe were to say these things, then I may take notice.


Fair enough, most people I have encountered with a sympathetic view of the Tea Party are not willing to deem Limbaugh, Beck, etc. irrelevant/ignore them.

Also, I think you might be surprised at what some supposedly moderate GOPer's are willing to say/not say in order to pander to the fringes of the Tea Party.

P.S., the U Colorado Boulder professor, Ward Churchill, was a Native American (or at least self-identifies as such). He was pushed out not because of the "chickens coming home to roost" article, but because he was found to have fabricated sources, cited himself under a pseudonym, etc., etc.

The investigation was probably initially politically motivated/started because of the "chickens coming to roost" article, but the academic review board made clear that the firing was not due to that, but because of the serious issues with his scholarship.
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whac3 wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Holy false equivalency and making up facts Batman!


Agreed.

But, I think that the main point of the article stands. A large group of angry black people would almost certainly be viewed differently by both the media and the public. Do you really think that it wouldn't?

Of course it would.

Yet imagine that white people marched on Washington in any of the rallies to promote the cause of people of their race which black people have had more than once, e.g., the Million Man March. The US has double standards for race and it goes both ways, even with regards just to black and white people.

US politicos need to realize in practical terms that:
1. Not everybody is either black or white and
2. Emphasis on race does not fight racism; it promotes it.


1. I agree that exclusively using the black/white paradigm is problematic when discussing race in this country. Let's expand our thought experiment and see how those promoting the TP movement might respond to an anti-government demonstration by say, Latinos.

Oh, wait-- www.michellemalkin.com

2. You're right, a far better tactic to fight racism is to ignore it.
 
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bjlillo wrote:
Holy false equivalency and making up facts Batman!


Some of the equivalencies are stretched, but many seem pretty spot-on. In particular the point about armed black people marching on Washington and talking about revolution -- I think there's little doubt this would have been seen very differently.

I'm only familiar with some of the facts; the only one I know enough to disagree with is the notion that Coulter gives anyone marching orders. Which did you find made up?
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SpaceGhost wrote:
But, to be equivalent, it would have to be placed in the mouth of an extreme leftist black person. I automatically ignore anything that Rush Limbaugh says. If Olympia Snowe were to say these things, then I may take notice.


What about if it were said by someone on the left who the Democratic party takes as seriously as the Republican party takes Limbaugh?

I mean, I agree with you that he's a blowhard and not worth listening to on his own merits, but he still carries a lot of weight in the Republican party, both among the rank-and-file and among the party leadership. It's hard to find a senior Republican who will criticize Limbaugh, and most that do apologize for it within 48 hours.
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bjlillo wrote:
glundee1 wrote:
1. It's a hypothetical thought experiment.

2. What, pray tell, do you think was made up, and where does the article engage in false equivalencies?


If you'd like to see how the media would react to a Hispanic group actually engaged in the violent activities that he falsely accuses the Tea Party of engaging in, look no further than the anger arising from the protests happening in Arizona right now. Why, the violence the illegal alien supporters engaged in against police yesterday is being splashed all over the news today, right? Not only were they engaged in violence, but they made the claim that large swaths of land currently under US control belong to Mexico.



Hmm...no mention of this on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox. Is this an example of Mexican privilege?


1. It is all over the news.
2. Water bottles are not AK-47's
3. There are no national media figures calling for Mexicans to engage in violence and insurrection against the Federal Government, and if there were, there would be a MUCH STRONGER reaction to it if than to Glen Beck's daily ramblings, which is the point of the OP.
4. They actually have the gall to claim that the United States is illegally occupying land which belongs to another sovereign nation? You're right, they have zero credibility.
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"Imagine if the Tea Party was Black"

Well that would be racist. That's just a rhetorical tactic to divert attention from the issues people are concerned about.

Fact is the Tea Party movement comes from a cross-section of Americans. There are white people, black people, Asian people, Latino people, fat people, skinny people, ugly people, beautiful people, etc all involved. It's not a racist organization.

The reason most of the people involved are white is because most of the people in the country are white. Whites may be disproportionally represented, but that's probably more to do with them being disproportionally angry enough to get off their asses, rather than some organizational discrimination. It is a bunch of people coming together voluntarily, after all.

As noted, the guy carrying the assault rifle was BLACK! Which pretty much refutes his entire hypothesis. Oh... and he must have forgotten this.
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whac3 wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Holy false equivalency and making up facts Batman!


Agreed.

But, I think that the main point of the article stands. A large group of angry black people would almost certainly be viewed differently by both the media and the public. Do you really think that it wouldn't?

Of course it would.

Yet imagine that white people marched on Washington in any of the rallies to promote the cause of people of their race which black people have had more than once, e.g., the Million Man March. The US has double standards for race and it goes both ways, even with regards just to black and white people.

This double standard some people are seeing isn't at all a parallel. One group is allowed to march around fully armed (that's the redneck teabaggers). The other group assembles for unarmed marches on Washington. It's not like Civil Rights marches were designed for the express purpose of showing that the protester's dicks guns were hanging out and showing off. Y'all are comparing grapefruits to fiberfill.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Some of the equivalencies are stretched, but many seem pretty spot-on. In particular the point about armed black people marching on Washington and talking about revolution -- I think there's little doubt this would have been seen very differently.


It already happened and it was.
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out4blood wrote:
The reason most of the people involved are white is because most of the people in the country are white.


Sixty-five percent of Americans are white. That's way more than the percentage of tea partiers which are white, which is more like 95%+.
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whac3 wrote:
My issue is that the article is about "White Privilege" and it ignores "Black Privilege". It's not a one-way street. US culture lets white people say and do things black people can't and vice-versa.


Yeah, white people get to use violent imagery to discuss their political beliefs, act antagonistically towards people of authority, slur minorities, and wave guns about at will. Meanwhile, black people are allowed to call each other "nigger." So it's totally fair.
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Randy Cox wrote:

This double standard some people are seeing isn't at all a parallel. One group is allowed to march around fully armed (that's the redneck teabaggers). The other group assembles for unarmed marches on Washington. It's not like Civil Rights marches were designed for the express purpose of showing that the protester's dicks guns were hanging out and showing off. Y'all are comparing grapefruits to fiberfill.

Sorry. I didn't mean to imply they were exactly parallel. Clearly they're not. Nevertheless they do show the issue is far more complex than it's being treated as being.

The article in the OP is grossly oversimplifying. That is my point.
 
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MGK;

I was tempted to ignore your post or just inform you that the grown-ups are talking.

I could cite examples of places where white people cannot safely go, having walked into one once in college for example. For that matter I could cite all kinds of stupid racist things done by white folk, black folk, etc.

Guess what? The part of Texas I grew up in other than my family had no black or white people in the whole town, and still racism was an issue. You seem to have a grossly oversimplified view of the world which only applies where most people are "white" and the culture is thoroughly stereo-typical North American.
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whac3 wrote:
I could cite examples of places where white people cannot safely go, having walked into one once in college for example. For that matter I could cite all kinds of stupid racist things done by white folk, black folk, etc.


All of this will really be relevant the moment you can demonstrate that, in addition to equal capacity to be racist, black people in America have as much inherent power by virtue of their race as white people do. Which they don't, and it's ridiculous to argue otherwise, and that's the entire point of "privilege," which is what you don't seem to get.
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