This Week in Blackness: "Nigger times 11" & other brilliant ideas.

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Nigger In America:
White people saying Nigger. That’s always pleasant, right?

White people saying nigger while minimalizing the feelings of racism? Even more pleasant. Like a massage. A really racist massage.

The shit storm that has been this past week’s news cycle due to someone simply expressing their right to free speech (if you go by Dr. Laura’s resignation interview on CNN) has once again brought race to the forefront of American media. The popular memes of “Blacks can say it, why can’t Whites?” and “No one should use the word!” are running rampant throughout the blogosphere. The underlying uncomfortableness of the discussion of “nigger” being in the everyday American vernacular comes from the underlying uncomfortableness of Blacks being in everyday America.

The reason why Whites can’t say “nigger” is because they (past tense they, relax) used this word when Black people were enslaved, beaten, and raped for hundreds of years. Then, when Blacks were free whites continued to use the word to highlight that we were NOT one of them and to clearly articulate the fact that many considered us to be less than a human.

Just a “nigger.”

So when the discussion of nigger usage rears its head, as it does every few years, we always get to have an interesting game of amnesia where some folks try to pretend as if they forget why the word is bad for Caucasian usage.

“I didn’t own slaves. Why should I be punished for what happened in the past?”

That’s one of my favorite lines. Apparently not being able to use the word “nigger” is some sort of punishment. This argument is used anytime the legacy of slavery and oppression is discussed in America. “I didn’t do it” is looked at as some sort of impenetrable force field of righteousness. And let’s be honest: they’re right. “They” didn’t do it.

But America did.

And you, my friend, are American—or you chose to live in America and by American rules. You may not owe Black people anything, but America surely does. America, contrary to Pat Buchanan, was built by Black people. America owes its reign as a first-world country to the millions of Blacks that died in slavery providing free labor so that this country could rise to the top of the global food chain This will never repay what is actually owed to Black Americans but to question policies and general rules of politeness because “You didn’t do it” is absurd. If America is in debt you pay taxes. If America is at war you may be drafted. The “Whites shouldn’t say nigger” is just another aspect of being American.

Consider it a racism tax.
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TWiB! Season 3 Ep#7: The "How To" Guide on Scaring White People.

As seen on

caring white people is wrong. I do it—but it’s wrong.

And when I say “scare” I don’t mean I hide in the bushes and jump out and say “boo!” Although hilarious, this isn’t what I would choose to spend my day doing. When I say “scaring” I mean simply by appearing at times. I live in a slowly gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn and I was walking down the street late one night and a young white woman who recently moved in was walking in front of me.

She was obviously terrified because of the Negro apparently walking behind her for 2 blocks (we both got off of the train and we both lived at least 2 blocks in the same direction.) She turned around a few times very nervously and eventually stopped walking allowing me to walk in front of her so she could know where “I” was going.

See? I wasn’t even TRYING.

I thought about saying “Greetings random White lady. You may not know this but I’ve lived in this neighborhood for years and if anyone should be looking around nervously it should be me because anytime I see a young white woman in this area at 1am I’m terrified. Why? Because very soon my rent will be going up.” I didn’t say that because I didn’t want to be responsible for the young lady ruining a perfectly good pair of underwear but darn it I was really close to doing it.

But I didn’t want to scare her. I don’t benefit from her being terrified. Hell I might have ended up with a can of mace in my eyes and a strong kick to the gut had I really scared that poor girl. This wouldn’t and isn’t the case for the Republicans and the Tea Party.

They’re enjoying scaring the holy hell out of white people. Putting fear into their souls about losing a country that in all honesty was never Theirs (it was stolen and then handed down to them.) They’re profiting off of the fear of negroes and we aren’t even doing anything. When the young lady I was walking behind was scared at least I sort of understood–but the fear mongering that’s being ratcheted up by right wing news outlets is illogical. They’re throwing around the word “reparations.” Yeah, that thing that no one’s talking about BESIDES them.

So if you’re confused as to why middle of the road white folks seem to be a bit antsy just watch an ep or 2 of Glenn Beck. Mystery solved.
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Greetings, y'all.

Welcome to the "This Week in Blackness" LJ community, hosted by the one, the only elon_james. Name's treize64, and I'll be serving as your friendly neighborhood community moderator this evening (and for many evenings to follow).

A few ground rules to help us all keep it 100.

If the National Conversation on Race were instead a battlefield, this would be a frontline. Here you'll find (regular) episodes of TWIB! as well as related articles, musings, and funnies regarding the state of racial affairs. As such, try to keep posts at least tangentially related to the racial discussion. Insight and thoughtfulness is also appreciated, but I am keeping in mind that these are the internets and intelligent comments have a surprisingly short half-life here.

That said, my policy regarding hate is that it's like hot sauce. When applied in judicious amounts, it can make almost any topic digestible (re: RNC, BP, Goldman Sachs, BET, you name it), but when applied liberally, it can ruin a meal.

Diversity of opinion is welcome; in fact, it is encouraged.

But it's like the philosopher Nietzsche said, "Be careful when you fight ign'ance, lest you become ign'ant." Or something like that.

An Apology

I thought that the "Russian Spam" issue was handled here on the TWiB Community but apparently not. I'd like to apologize to all who have had their friends page covered in crap due to the fact that they joined this community. I'd like to apologize for the lack of content and updating. I'll be looking for a moderator to make sure this doesn't happen again.

- ejw 

TWiB! Season 3 Ep#6 -"A National Conversation on Race"
As seen on

The summer of 2009 was an interesting one for race in America.

Between Pat Buchanan being his usual batshit crazy self, the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation, a Philadelphia swimming club kicking a bunch of young black kids out due to their "changing the complexion" of the pool, and a host of other wacky nonsense I was fairly sure we were living in some of the worst times in the last few years of race. It would take some sort of powerfully magical spell cast upon America for it to become more racialized than things were last year.

Then came summer 2010.

I don't know where to begin.

I honestly have spent most of this summer baffled, confused and insulted by virtually all race-related events/scandals. I'm constantly being told (on the Internet and by Fox News) that I (and most minorities and liberals) am somehow making everything about race. Due to my apparently progressive views I obviously want to demonize working-class whites.

"It's not about race!"

Well, fine. You've convinced me, guys. It's not about race. It's about idiots. Idiots who want to ignore race and history in America. If it was simply about race we could talk about it. We could have this much-requested "national conversation on race with America" so that we could enlighten and move forward. We could share our differences in order to truly see how we are the same and have similar needs, wants and desires.

But it's not about race.

It's about a lack of understanding of how America's incredibly fucked-up history has affected its people. It's about praising the Founding Fathers as the pinnacle of political thought although they participated in one of American history's greatest travesties, i.e., slavery. Tim Wise gave a speech at July's Netroots Nation where he told the story of a poor white man who wrote him complaining that Wise doesn't talk about the hardships for poor white America. He claimed that Tim Wise, who is an outspoken author and orator on race in America, seems to only focus on the black struggle and that Mr. Wise himself had forgotten about him and other struggling white Americans.

Tim then alerted him that maybe he should care about the black struggle as well. If it wasn't for the racializing of public programs that would help him and other struggling whites in times of need perhaps there would be more help for all poor folks. Maybe if the term "welfare" wasn't connected to brown skin then politicians wouldn't campaign on policies that require leaving so many of the nation's poor to fend for themselves in a country that is built for the haves, not the have nots.

But it's not about race.

See? I'm totally going along with this thought process now! It's not about race. It's about horrendous politics. It's about capitalizing on the fear of "other" whether that other be race, nationality or religion. It's about Americans being delusional in how everyday life plays out. It's about being completely oblivious to those who don't have your life experiences. This isn't a race thing. This is a failure to acknowledge the worst of our society's actions and their systemic effect.

Awesome. Now I can move on, huh?

Racism: Obama Doesn't Care About White People

The graphic is obviously inspired by Kanye West's television meltdown: "George Bush doesn't care about black people", after hurricane Katrina.

Maybe I'm wrong for being totally amused but obviously some people are letting their worst fears get the best of them. In order for racism to be effective, there must be power... and with a black man in power - some of you are shitting yourselves a little early in the game. It's funny because just a few months ago it was "OH BUT HE IS HALF WHITEEEEEE..."

For those of you not aware of what's going on, television and radio host Glen Beck "kinda sorta" called the U.S. president a racist with a PROBLEM. Which he later retracted and then stood by again. This flip-flop of opinion is spurred by Obama's comments on the arrest of black Harvard professor Henry Gates, stating that the police acted "stupidly". And while I wish Obama would have chosen a less definitive approach in his answer - how is it racist? How does it at all prove that he "hates white culture", as Beck claims?

Unlike some people I refused to buy into the ideal: "Obama's president, racism's OVER!!!", as so many have after his election. I find that too many people think ignoring race is the best approach. And even before Obama's election to presidency I found that many people of color have tried to adopt this approach. The thought is especially popular among those who do not live and have never lived in the southern part of the United States. This is why I grinned a little when Sean Bell, a 23 year-old unarmed black male, was shot at 50 times and murdered in Queens, NY in 2006. Those officers were found innocent. I grinned again when tension in Jena, LA boiled over into a race war because black students couldn't sit under the school's "white tree". Racism is over... right...

This country has many decades to go through before black Americans can see a black Harvard scholar arrested for entering his own home and not see the race riots of 1968.

"Get over it"

Get over what exactly? While the argument is typically surrounding slavery, the history after the supposed abolishment of slavery is far more disgusting and damaging. And why should the "getting over" be one-sided? Black Americans are not Africans and are not going back to Africa! Get over it. Mexico's moved here. Get over it. Virginia, you lost the Civil War. Get over it. Your president is black... with a white mother... get over it.

- plexi

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