Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

For heavens’ sake, don’t say anything positive about black people — that’s RACIST!

with 10 comments

Eugene Robinson:

What is it, exactly, that white people mean when they call a black person “articulate”?

[…]

I realize the word is intended as a compliment, but it’s being used to connote a lot more than the ability to express one’s thoughts clearly. It’s being used to say more, even, than “here’s a black person who speaks standard English without a trace of Ebonics.”

[…]

Articulate is really a shorthand way of describing a black person who isn’t too black — or, rather, who comports with white America’s notion of how a black person should come across.

The latest mush-mouthed, misogynist rap star? Proper amount of blackness.

The articulate and witty Bill Cosby? Too white, an oreo, a sell-out to honky America.

I soooooooooooo did not miss this bullshit when I was in China.

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Written by [IMH]

2 February 2007 at 10:14 am

Posted in Culture

10 Responses

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  1. Why don’t you go back to China then?

    Kaldi

    2 February 2007 at 11:42 am

  2. Perhaps because I got sick of the actual racism there, and want a breather in a country that’s so “racist” and “oppressive” that a minority female can make herself one of the richest people in the world.

    Or haven’t you heard of Oprah?

    Ian

    2 February 2007 at 3:18 pm

  3. Perhaps because I got sick of the actual racism there, and want a breather in a country that’s so “racist” and “oppressive” that a minority female can make herself one of the richest people in the world.

    Or haven’t you heard of Oprah?

    Ian

    2 February 2007 at 3:18 pm

  4. I saw this post…and I am glad you said it before I could. In the USA people talk about racism as if it is rampant…but you have no idea what racism is, until you move here and experience it.

    Well said.

    GZ Expat

    2 February 2007 at 4:10 pm

  5. I saw this post…and I am glad you said it before I could. In the USA people talk about racism as if it is rampant…but you have no idea what racism is, until you move here and experience it.

    Well said.

    GZ Expat

    2 February 2007 at 4:10 pm

  6. As if most white folks are articulate! If I, personally, describe anyone as articulate, that’s fairly high praise.

    Will Duquette

    3 February 2007 at 7:02 am

  7. So, as a white guy, if I call another white guy articulate, and I have, am I being derogative towards them? Can I not be complimentary, because I’m a white male, to anyone because that would mean I’m putting down the rest of their race, creed, country, or sexual orientation? The cult of persecution must end.

    Brass

    3 February 2007 at 1:37 pm

  8. So, as a white guy, if I call another white guy articulate, and I have, am I being derogative towards them? Can I not be complimentary, because I’m a white male, to anyone because that would mean I’m putting down the rest of their race, creed, country, or sexual orientation? The cult of persecution must end.

    Brass

    3 February 2007 at 1:37 pm

  9. Now, I can see how Biden’s comment is taken in an insulting way (though, given your experiences, I understand even Biden’s insulting comment is a pretty tame manifestation of racism in the grand scheme of things), but I’m at a loss to explain why Robinson equates it with President Bush’s “articulate” comment, since there’s absolutely no indication that Bush was saying he was articulate for his race, but rather that he was articulate, period.

    The idea, I suppose, is that when you call a black man “articulate”, there’s an assumption that you mean “articulate for a black man”, which could be seen as derogatory to the race as a whole (since there’s an implication that you believe black men are less articulate) and to the individual (since there’s that “damning with faint praise” air to it when phrased that way). Of course, to assume that a speaker automatically means insult with a compliment simply because the speaker happens to be white is kind of racist in and of itself, isn’t it?

    Robin S.

    6 February 2007 at 1:17 pm

  10. GZ: Thank you.

    Will: Same with me.

    Brass: By the “reasoning” these types of folks employ, you are white, you are male, ergo you are a racist. And nobody else can possibly be racist, because they’re not “in power” in some societal sense. Or, to put it more bluntly, the only way you can win in their eyes is to shut up and go away.

    Robin: Biden’s an idiot, which was so apparent I didn’t think it worth commenting on. But using Biden’s idiocy to smear anyone who uses the word “articulate” as a racist is worse than idiotic, it is vile. “Thinking” of this kind led to the situation today, where if a University uses a truly color-blind admissions procedure, it is accused of racism, but if it discriminates according to skin color and ethnicity, then it is enlightened. (Ask any asian student at any US university what he thinks of affirmative action. The answer you get will be genuinely enlightening.)

    Ian

    6 February 2007 at 3:58 pm


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