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Episode 106 — Racist Against White People


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:00 PM

Can you be racist against white people? Andrew Ti & this week’s guest Jane Marie are on the same page on this one. Listen to find out their answer and leave us a message at (323) 389-RACE.

#2 Shariq Torres

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:29 AM

With her answer, this guest is head and shoulders above many of the guests you've had on so far. The only other one that was as good was the dude that wrote "Stuff White People Like."

#3 Mart J

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:22 AM

I mean the answer is obviously yes.

#4 meshair

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

The answer is either "obviously yes" or "obviously no" depending on how you define racism*. But the basic idea behind what she was saying--that being called a honkey that one time, or being told that white guys can't dance, is profoundly different from living under a system of wide-spread, institutionalized bigotry--is worth remembering.

* Trying to decide on the "correct" definition of racism seems misguided to me. Words have more than one meaning because they're used in more than one way; that's how language works.

#5 pokey

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 06:52 PM

American history starts with the genocide of indigenous people and the most shameful system of slavery ever conceived, and progress has been slow but not steady. If and when white people in the U.S. today face prejudice for being white, it's usually interpersonal, not systemic, and it's usually unfair instead of unjust.

It's also true that white people have privileges for being white, but privilege is not the same as being in charge. The idea that white people, in general, are in charge is wrong, for one thing, and, worse, the kind of thinking that perpetuates racism. It's a sleight of hand trick that the rich and powerful learned when unity between black slaves and white indentured servants was posing a potential threat to their wealth and power.

We are all well aware of the perverse wealth inequality in the U.S. Most white people--even if they face no discrimination based on gender or orientation, even if they've benefitted from white privilege--have very little real power in their own lives, let alone the lives of others. Very many live paycheck-to-paycheck. Very few have the power to affect change on a large scale. The suggestion that these same people are "in charge" is ludicrous.

Poor and lower-middle-class whites lack economic and social stability, which creates anxiety. That anxiety, the fear they have something to lose, is very real, and very profoundly felt. If it is accepted that "white people are in charge," that distorts the perception of what they have to lose and who poses a threat. So, there is no focus on the people who are in charge, the "white-collar" crimes they commit, or the system that serves the consolidation of wealth and political power for only a very few. Instead, they focus their resentment on their nonwhite socioeconomic peers, with whom they compete for underpaid jobs that offer little security.

I agree that the racial prejudice that white people experience in the U.S. is fundamentally different in kind from the racism nonwhite people experience. I agree that white people receive privileges that nonwhite people don't. And I think it is appropriate and necessary to emphasize the asymmetrical nature of racism in America. But, I suspect that the statement that "white people are in charge," aside from being wrong and unnecessarily sensationalist, ultimately serves the system of inequality that perpetuates racism.

#6 Dorkopotamis

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:46 PM

View Postpokey, on 13 March 2013 - 06:52 PM, said:

Words...


I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

#7 Shariq Torres

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM

View Postpokey, on 13 March 2013 - 06:52 PM, said:

American history starts with the genocide of indigenous people and the most shameful system of slavery ever conceived, and progress has been slow but not steady. If and when white people in the U.S. today face prejudice for being white, it's usually interpersonal, not systemic, and it's usually unfair instead of unjust.

It's also true that white people have privileges for being white, but privilege is not the same as being in charge. The idea that white people, in general, are in charge is wrong, for one thing, and, worse, the kind of thinking that perpetuates racism. It's a sleight of hand trick that the rich and powerful learned when unity between black slaves and white indentured servants was posing a potential threat to their wealth and power.

We are all well aware of the perverse wealth inequality in the U.S. Most white people--even if they face no discrimination based on gender or orientation, even if they've benefitted from white privilege--have very little real power in their own lives, let alone the lives of others. Very many live paycheck-to-paycheck. Very few have the power to affect change on a large scale. The suggestion that these same people are "in charge" is ludicrous.

Poor and lower-middle-class whites lack economic and social stability, which creates anxiety. That anxiety, the fear they have something to lose, is very real, and very profoundly felt. If it is accepted that "white people are in charge," that distorts the perception of what they have to lose and who poses a threat. So, there is no focus on the people who are in charge, the "white-collar" crimes they commit, or the system that serves the consolidation of wealth and political power for only a very few. Instead, they focus their resentment on their nonwhite socioeconomic peers, with whom they compete for underpaid jobs that offer little security.

I agree that the racial prejudice that white people experience in the U.S. is fundamentally different in kind from the racism nonwhite people experience. I agree that white people receive privileges that nonwhite people don't. And I think it is appropriate and necessary to emphasize the asymmetrical nature of racism in America. But, I suspect that the statement that "white people are in charge," aside from being wrong and unnecessarily sensationalist, ultimately serves the system of inequality that perpetuates racism.


But white people are in charge. The judges, the police force, business leaders, politicians are overwhelmingly white and have been for 98% of this country's history. I don't its wrong to gloss over that and not take that into consideration when talking about the power structure in the country. Pointing that out does not perpetuate racism. What keeps racism going is the myth of white superiority that is told to other white people in this country, subtly and overtly, through various mediums/mechanisms/systems.

The reason poor whites don't band together with poor blacks is because those poor white have the ability to access the wider mainstream and be successful in it. That is something that even rich black people lack. Chris Rock said it best in his joke, "There is no white person in this audience who would trade places with me....and I'm rich!" There are many spaces in society where black people will never belong, no matter how much money they make (for example, the Henry Louis Gates incident). That access is powerful and will help a poor white person get to a middle class white person. The other power players in society -- other white men, but it is increasingly adding white women -- will look upon that white person as a peer. They will see themselves in that other white person and relate to them better than an Asian woman or a black lesbian.

Even in their status as poor whites, they still have the a major political party and political movement telling them that they are the salt of the earth and the true backbone of the nation. For every type of white person in this nation there is a story, a narrative, to make them feel good. For every type of black person in this nation, there is a story to tell you how much you are not worth anything. If you're poor, then you're "ghetto". if you are rich, then you're "uppity'.

#8 Sol Goldman

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:12 AM

Um, yes you can absolutely be racist against white people.

Antisemitism is a good example of racism against white people. Louis Farrakhan constantly goes on antisemitic rants that sound exactly like something you would hear at a KKK rally.

This podcast almost exclusively has as guests white bread, silver spoon NPR types. There has been exactly one black guest who completely dismantled Andrew's theory on racism and exposed him for the racist that he is. Thank you MC Nocando.

#9 Shariq Torres

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:12 AM

View PostSol Goldman, on 14 March 2013 - 09:12 AM, said:

Um, yes you can absolutely be racist against white people.

Antisemitism is a good example of racism against white people. Louis Farrakhan constantly goes on antisemitic rants that sound exactly like something you would hear at a KKK rally.

This podcast almost exclusively has as guests white bread, silver spoon NPR types. There has been exactly one black guest who completely dismantled Andrew's theory on racism and exposed him for the racist that he is. Thank you MC Nocando.



But I'm a black person and I agree with Andrew. Does that mean that Nocando's opinions are invalidated or will you go back to what you would usually do and ignore the voices of PoC?

And what Louis Farrahkan is engaging in is prejudiced thinking. He is very prejudiced against Jewish people. But the Nation of Islam does not own a major television station where they can pump out this message of anti-semitism on a daily basis. They don't even own a majority of local newstations where they can focus exclusively on Jewish activity. They do not make up 99 of the senators in the United States Congress and their members do not have a majority control of the House of Representatives. They literally have no power in this country to act at all. But prejudiced white people do have the power in the country. That's the definition of racism.

#10 .....

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:07 PM

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 11:12 AM, said:

They do not make up 99 of the senators in the United States Congress

Is Daniel Inouye or Daniel Akaka white for the purposes of this argument?

#11 Sol Goldman

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:29 PM

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 11:12 AM, said:



But I'm a black person and I agree with Andrew. Does that mean that Nocando's opinions are invalidated or will you go back to what you would usually do and ignore the voices of PoC?

And what Louis Farrahkan is engaging in is prejudiced thinking. He is very prejudiced against Jewish people. But the Nation of Islam does not own a major television station where they can pump out this message of anti-semitism on a daily basis. They don't even own a majority of local newstations where they can focus exclusively on Jewish activity. They do not make up 99 of the senators in the United States Congress and their members do not have a majority control of the House of Representatives. They literally have no power in this country to act at all. But prejudiced white people do have the power in the country. That's the definition of racism.

First of all how dare you claim that I ignore the voices of anyone. You don't know me. You are entitled to your opinion as am I. Adolf Hitler incited the holocaust by claiming that Jews had "too much power." Who we perceive to be in power does not factor into the definition of racism. Racism is toxic and dangerous from any direction.

Even though I dont always agree with Andrew's views I appreciate the podcast because it promotes critical thinking. However it would be more substantial if not (nearly) every guest was selected because they agree with his position.

#12 president cage

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:17 AM

Racism is also an ideology where certain races are said to be genetically inferior or superior. If someone (of any race) or some group believes that people of another race are dumb or evil because of their genes, then that is racist thinking, regardless of their ability to pass laws or publicize their views. This isn't the only definition of racism, but it's a historically important one.

#13 pfchangs

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:34 AM

View PostJoshie, on 14 March 2013 - 08:07 PM, said:

Is Daniel Inouye or Daniel Akaka white for the purposes of this argument?

Inouye's dead and Akaka's retired.

#14 .....

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 05:40 PM

View Postpfchangs, on 15 March 2013 - 08:34 AM, said:

Inouye's dead and Akaka's retired.

Ahh, good catch. I guess this is our new white senator from Hawaii:
Posted Image

#15 TheNarnold

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:51 PM

This whole show is racist towards white people. Discriminating against anyone for skin color is racism, and Andrew here loves to blame white people for everything. I'll never forget the time I was in middle school and some kid got called a cracker by a black girl, he responded by calling her a nigger. Guess who got suspended and who got no punishment?

#16 pokey

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 01:27 AM

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


But white people are in charge. The judges, the police force, business leaders, politicians are overwhelmingly white and have been for 98% of this country's history.


Let’s not confuse the babysitters for the parents.

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


I don't its wrong to gloss over that and not take that into consideration when talking about the power structure in the country. Pointing that out does not perpetuate racism. What keeps racism going is the myth of white superiority that is told to other white people in this country, subtly and overtly, through various mediums/mechanisms/systems.


Exactly. Part of that mythology is to say that America and its values belong to white people. Or, put another way, "white people are in charge." A disapproving tone doesn't change the overall effect. And it's not accurate, anyway, if you really mean "in charge," and not just "privileged with a little power."

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


The reason poor whites don't band together with poor blacks is because those poor white have the ability to access the wider mainstream and be successful in it.


You're severely overestimating the upward mobility of white people in poverty. And, anyway, poor white people are more likely afraid that poor people of color are going to "steal" the work that's currently available to them than they are to fancy themselves moving into a different tax bracket.

Even so, the opportunity to succeed isn't even privilege, let alone power, is it? That's not something that white people shouldn't have, it's something everyone should have. But, as long as we choose to see things as us-vs-them, we can forget about that happening.

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


That is something that even rich black people lack. Chris Rock said it best in his joke, "There is no white person in this audience who would trade places with me....and I'm rich!"


I don't want to take a comedy routine too literally, no matter how sociologically poignant, but I do think it's safe to say that he has "accessed the mainstream and been successful in it."

By the way, for perspective, at $70M net worth, that puts him only $1.03B short of cracking the Forbes 400. Even supposing he had that, wealthy individuals don't hold the same power as wealthy families with powerful corporate and political connections (e.g., the Kochs, the Waltons, et al.), so not even being "rich" means being "in charge."

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


There are many spaces in society where black people will never belong, no matter how much money they make (for example, the Henry Louis Gates incident).


Dr. Gates has taught at some of the most prominent universities in the country for decades, and at Harvard for over 20 years. He's received dozens of accolades and honors, published quite a few books, and reached a level of fame higher than most academics even think about. He is extremely successful, and seems to have been accepted, embraced, and even celebrated by his academic peers. He sat down to a beer with the officer who harassed him (oh, and the President and VP of the US), and seemed to leave it on friendly terms.

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


That access is powerful and will help a poor white person get to a middle class white person. The other power players in society -- other white men, but it is increasingly adding white women -- will look upon that white person as a peer. They will see themselves in that other white person and relate to them better than an Asian woman or a black lesbian.


You're either underestimating socioeconomic division, or overestimating the notion of white solidarity, but people don't reach across class lines that readily, and the wealthy don't tend to see the poor as "peers."

View PostShariq Torres, on 14 March 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:


Even in their status as poor whites, they still have the a major political party and political movement telling them that they are the salt of the earth and the true backbone of the nation. For every type of white person in this nation there is a story, a narrative, to make them feel good. For every type of black person in this nation, there is a story to tell you how much you are not worth anything. If you're poor, then you're "ghetto". if you are rich, then you're "uppity'.


Political pandering and feel-good narratives do not constitute being in charge, though!

#17 pokey

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 01:51 AM

I'm not Andrew's biggest fan, but I really don't think he's racist. I suspect he probably just thinks about race/racism way too much for the good of his mental and emotional health, and it comes across that he's exasperated and burned out. Then, sometimes he'll groan and say, "Fuckin' white people, they're the worst." It's not helpful, to say the least, but, given the time the man spends thinking about racism in America, it's a pretty mild reaction.

But, he seems to treat all his guests with respect and kindness, and, at his very best, he's thoughtful, measured, funny, and offers really good insight.

#18 president cage

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:09 PM

View PostTheNarnold, on 15 March 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

This whole show is racist towards white people. Discriminating against anyone for skin color is racism, and Andrew here loves to blame white people for everything.


How can a show that has 85% white guests be racist against white people?

#19 Shariq Torres

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:16 PM

View PostJoshie, on 15 March 2013 - 05:40 PM, said:

Ahh, good catch. I guess this is our new white senator from Hawaii:
Posted Image



You still trying Joshie, but she's the 1 non-white person in the Senate. Burris was the other but he has seen been replaced by Mark Kirk.

This topic is obviously out of your depth. Isn't there something else you should be doing?

#20 Shariq Torres

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:21 PM

View Postpokey, on 16 March 2013 - 01:51 AM, said:

I'm not Andrew's biggest fan, but I really don't think he's racist. I suspect he probably just thinks about race/racism way too much for the good of his mental and emotional health, and it comes across that he's exasperated and burned out. Then, sometimes he'll groan and say, "Fuckin' white people, they're the worst." It's not helpful, to say the least, but, given the time the man spends thinking about racism in America, it's a pretty mild reaction.

But, he seems to treat all his guests with respect and kindness, and, at his very best, he's thoughtful, measured, funny, and offers really good insight.



Andrew is not racist, and I like how he is critical of everyone when it comes to race, even himself and his family. He does this because he know that we are living a racist society and every day you are getting messages, subtle and overt, that let you know where you are on the hierarchy. He is much better than people who say they aren't racist, then go and say racist shit. You know those types of people. The type that will trot out that they have non-white "friends" so how could anything they do be racist? Or the worst kind, the kind that say racist shit and then say, "can't take a joke? jeez, calm down." Those people can go fuck themselves.