Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's only racist when they do it

We liberal New England types easily fall into the trap of "the other." Y'know, like "Republicans" or "Conservatives" or, even worse, "Southerners." It's amazing how quickly we seek solace in putting people inside nice, little boxes and throwing labels at them.

The author quotes a white intellectual:

There are, needless to say, plenty of individual Southern whites who are wholly admirable. But taken as a whole, Southern white culture is [redacted]. Jim Webb can pretty it up all he wants, but it's a [redacted]." Drum did the redacting on his own blog post, explaining he'd blacked out the offending text "on the advice of my frontal lobe."

He then shows us the problem with Southern-bashing - if you replace the word "southerner" with, say, "a black person," the bigot doth reveal itself:

"There are, needless to say, plenty of individual blacks who are wholly admirable. But taken as a whole, black culture is [redacted]. Barack Obama can pretty it up all he wants, but it's a [redacted]."

Or maybe this: "There are, needless to say, plenty of individual Jews who are wholly admirable. But taken as a whole, Jewish culture is [redacted]. The late Irving Howe can pretty it up all he wants, but it's a [redacted]."


George said...

I find this to be a little different because its classist--making fun of southerners-fun as it is-a lot of times is making fun of rural poor people. The trailer parks, the overalls, having a shotgun in the corner of your one room. I would feel better making deliverance jokes if this wasn't the case. I'm still gonna do it though its too much fun.

Actually when I studied in Costa Rica one of our teachers spent an entire class (a 2 hour class) pumping us for redneck jokes. He had never been outside Costa Rica and was literally falling over laughing as we reinforced his stereotypes-I have never seen someone laugh this way since.

But you're right to be the annoying magnanimous bastard that you are Rubin.

Zeyev said...

George: The Rubin is magnanimous? That must be the old version. We've turned him into a right proper bureaucrat. Well, we're working on it.

I was brought up in South and retain some degree of bitterness about it all. I think all people who are considered outsiders there have that issue and, as the only Jews in the entire eastern third of a big city, we were certainly outcasts. We went back to Montgomery in 1954 shortly after the mayor and the police chief of Phenix City murdered the State's Attorney-General-elect. And then came the bus boycott. We left in 1961 when Montgomery was under martial law because its police force had collaborated with the goons who beat up the Freedom Riders.

As to making fun of Southerners, I really love the comedy of Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall. Their humor is of the self-deprecating variety and that is nearly always acceptable. Making fun of The Other rarely works for me, unless it's Jon. :-)

George said...

Well--you should put Rubin in charge of more of the government's business. After years of gaming experience with Jon, I can assure you that he will make sure all combat troops are equipped with enchanted plate mail (with resistance to poison of course), and well stocked with restore health and magicka potions.

Pam said...

You forgot about "east coast types."