Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

On Jibber Jabber: Where I quickly explain two common stereotypes March 29, 2012

Filed under: Social Commentary — Micah Griffin @ 22:49
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Short post, and not even super aggro. There are two common stereotypes (actually there are a lot more, but I just explained both of these to some young uneducated minds today. and by young uneducated minds I mean some UNC Chapel Hill (forevermore known as UNC) Dental College students) I actually sort of know the history of and can explain to you. Hopefully this will help you and make you a little less stupid. Let’s make this one thing super clear right now. These are GROSS over simplifications of ideas. These are just kind of basic templates where you can learn where some of these things come from. I’m thinking about doing this on a regular basis when things come up.

The first is on gossiping women. There’s this commonly held idea about women gossiping a lot and it’s all they do and why do they do it and bla. Well, I can tell you why women gossip. It requires a trip in a time machine all the way back to whenever societies moved to the extreme forms of patriarchy that went into societies with courts and stuff (like regencies and stuff but not just those. some of the forms before regencies and all that. It’s late, I’m forgetting the words but you get the idea.)

For the record, the rest of this part of the conversation deals solely with women of the upper classes. Let’s stay in this middle europe (home to so many of your favorite fantasy stories). In these societies men had ALL the power. This is just one of the many eras of ‘women as property.’ Women are married off for political gain. What keeps them useful are their looks and the prosperity of their family. They can help by being decently skilled at spinning or other crafts. They’re typically out of agency except for the fact that they’re not people.

By virtue of them being property they have the ability to hear and be told a lot of important information. They’re often in charge of servants and stuff like that so information gets to them. They can’t use any of that for power for themselves, but what they can do is exchange it with other women in their station. It’s a form of power for them. It works enough. This is their social capital and their part in the game. It’s a natural evolution from their societally given positions.

So.  Why do women gossip? Because over their years it’s their source of agency and power. You can help your friends and bring rivals down by just knowing other people’s secrets. You can help your husband and family by just knowing that woman’s husband is barren and that baby totally isn’t his by semen.

The other one is Black folks talking in movie theaters. This one is a lot easier and shorter. Movies, at least in the states, were a communal experience. You packed people into theaters to see things because of scarcity and novelty. Black movie theaters tended to not exist in and of themselves and when they started to it was a different experience. Segregation and the fact that (much like today) white people could just go around and kill black folks with no fear of legal repercussions made black communities function differently. So when you go to the movie you’re going to the movie with family. It’s part of the thing where some of us call people we aren’t even remotely related to aunts and uncles and so forth. Big family thing.

The thing is, everyone talks during movies. Most just don’t do it in public. Most black people don’t do it in public. Most people talk in private with their friends and family. It’s a fun social activity. Movies aren’t the serious things we’ve made them into. The stereotype comes from a time when black people would go to movies as giant forty piece families and no one cared that people talked through parts of it. There’s more involved, but that’s kind of the history of it. Even that incidence was a rare occurrence, but it’s stuck with us. There’s also the thing about black folks having parties wherever they go cause life sucks so why not party?

So there you have it. Very brief, full of holes, histories on two common stereotypes.


Quick Reflections on MY MLKjr January 18, 2012

I am one of the Americans fortunate enough to have been taught about Martin Luther King Jr, if not in full, then closer to full than the grand majority of other Americans. We’re all a victim to the white washing of history. It’s a simple fact of life that the people in power who write the history books (rich white dudes) write things from their perspective. Their perspective is that the actions of white Americans against non white people were never as bad as those non white people ever claim they are, or if they were bad, were justifiable because those non white people had it coming by not being white.

Read accounts of people during the time, and read the edited documents we have in our history books now. It’s always true. We even have first hand accounts from people saying how awful it is and being above and beyond the regular call of racism, and yet we talk about the civil rights movement (and all of American history) in such bullshit and quaint tones.

So the history most of you guys got of MLK jr was a history of non violent protest and peace and love through getting our asses kicked by the cops and other white folks for fun. They don’t know the reasons for the lack of violence on the part of the oppressed. Most people, to this day don’t, have any real understanding of the point to a non violent protest movement. Then y’all learned black folks got rights, then he got shot. America was no longer racist and anytime a black person brings up race you go and yell about how we’re equal and the black person needs to stop whining and get over the “it” of racism that doesn’t exist.

Fortunately for me that isn’t the way I learned it. I learned it a better way. I learned that non violent protest is the only way a group that is oppressed in the very specific way African-Americans were oppressed from before the USA was founded up until now is able to gain rights without complete assurance of regression and extermination. Make no mistake, if black people took to the streets of Virginia violently taking back land and such the cops would be (even more than they kind of already were and to some extent still are) allowed to kill niggers on site. In the same way it’s assumed now (and in a similar fashion to how we treat darker skinned arabs and especially the muslim ones) that blacks are criminal in some way and so when they are shot in their own homes by the police without due cause everyone says “well he probably did something”, outward expressions of violence would have led to a great societal shrugging of shoulders over the rapidly increasing pile of dead black bodies.

I learned that non violence didn’t mean not fighting. I learned that it meant not backing down from what you believe and using all the tools available to you. I learned that the civil rights movements of the fifties and sixties was a greatly organized PR move. Is it awful that black people had to do things in a certain way to disprove stereotypes that weren’t true? Absolutely. The hope was that after the struggle we’d go through to disprove those lies they wouldn’t continue to haunt us. I also was made to understand that at times there is simply nothing you can do to win. If the world is casting you as an angry black man and you do so much as to raise an eyebrow in question of something you’ve proven them right. So, at these times, you yell.

That’s what MLK did. He yelled at the times he was being derided as just an angry negro not being happy with the spot the whites had set aside for him. And make no mistake, he knew he was in a fight against white society. He knew the main reason whites and blacks couldn’t work together was that whites were unwilling to accept blacks as equal citizens, nor were they willing to accept that racism actively disenfranchises blacks and that in order for true equality to exist whites would need give up some of their societal privilege. He knew that white society associated blacks with bad and evil things and that is something that needed to be changed.

He also was a firm believer in economic justice. That’s what he was all about before his assassination. He was trying to upset the economic system in America. He was working for laborers. He was peacefully doing the same thing union heads were doing in the 20s and 30s. This is the legacy I grew up with. I grew up with someone who was willing to hire enforcers to stomp out people on his side to prevent them from breaking a boycott. That shit’s hard to do and hard to live with, yet those are the decisions that move a broken society like our forward.

I honestly feel remorse for all of you who grew up with sugar-coated visions of Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement he was such a part of. You have a lesser understanding of just how great he actually was. You didn’t get to grow up idolizing someone who was a threat to society. You never knew how little white society wanted to do with the man and just how uncomfortable he made everyone. All you ever knew was a nice guy who guy shot for trying to make the world a little bit better while I was able to grow up with a man who was murdered for trying to destroy a society out from underneath itself.

Yeah, that was totally smug and snarky, but fuck it. The MLK I grew up with is sooooo much cooler than yours.