BillMcGaughey.com

back to: analysis

 

I am not ashamed/afraid to be white

by William McGaughey

 

In the aftermath of all the well-publicized shootings of black people by whites, the controversies about the Confederate flag, and the humiliating images of white people as a race, I feel compelled to make a public statement. I do not agree with the stereotypes that drive racial discussions in our community. As silence could imply consent, I will say as clearly as possible that I am not ashamed to have been born as I was. I am not ashamed to be white. Let me deal with specific issues.

I am not ashamed of myself and other whites that there was race-based slavery in the United States until 1865. I am not ashamed that a system of segregation existed in the southern states until fifty years ago in which blacks occupied an inferior position to whites. Those conditions are now ended, largely because of white people’s efforts and sacrifice. Also, the Confederate flag represents many different things in people’s minds besides the inhumane system of slavery.

It would be better for those who hate plantation slavery so much to combat the neo-slavery that exists in our own day: the economic exploitation by financial institutions, the injustices sanctioned by the courts, the horrendous working conditions that some lower-echelon workers have to endure. If you are so righteous and brave, take on the live slave masters rather than those long dead.

I am not ashamed of “racist” attitudes among whites unless my own. People are free to think as they please, based on their own personal experience. Black people, too, have hateful thoughts about whites. In their own way, they also tend to think they are superior. All people tend to generalize in ways flattering to themselves. However, I would not judge people by their thoughts but by their deeds. Thoughts are and ought to be free. Deeds that are harmful to others can be addressed through the legal process.

I do not condone the unjustified shootings of black people by police or by lone-wolf white males, but I do not assume responsibility for them as a white person. It is unfair to transfer the blame to the entire white race. The blame for the police killings should be directed more narrowly to the police who were involved, not only to the individual officers but also to the people who supervise them. We need better police policies and procedures. The blame for the lone-wolf killings falls upon the killers themselves. We have legal procedures to deal with murder. The idea of enhanced punishment for “hate crimes” is an invention that serves mainly political purposes.

I cannot ignore the fact that American politics is polarized on the basis of racial identity. Black people vote for the Democrats as a bloc; and white people tend less uniformly to vote Republican. To keep their constituencies in line, the Democrats must adhere to a type of racially slanted expression called “political correctness”. They must pass laws designed to combat white racism. They must excoriate the racial bigot. For their part, the Republicans dare not appease white voters in a similar way because the Civil Rights legacy is so strong. They also realize that in 25 years whites will be a minority population so that they as a party would not want to position themselves to be on the wrong side of history.

I am objecting to the anti-racist culture in politics and society. This culture has little to do with actual black people or actual whites going about their daily business. Rather, it is a way of intimidating America’s majority population to justify their exploitation. The anti-racist theme serves political, financial, and corporate interests. It is no accident that our political system is broken. There is no community of good will to fix it. People are too divided.

You do not know who I am. For all you know, I am someone who secretly wants to lynch black people but disguises the fact. Such is the lurid atmosphere of hate and suspicion that surrounds discussions of race that someone like me, a racial heretic, will be thoroughly demonized. And that is why I feel a need to act at this time and be open about it. In the next half century, I hope that race relations in America will be sanitized and racial discussions will be more evenhanded.

I will be walking through downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday with a sign saying that I am not ashamed to be white. I will be at the corner of Washington and Nicollet Avenue at 11:45 a.m. and, at noon, will start walking up Nicollet to 12th Avenue. Then I will go over to Marquette Avenue and walk back down again to Washington. The whole exercise should last about an hour.

I would be delighted if people would join me on this walk. I know the cause is politically difficult, if not dangerous, but some may agree with its sentiment. Even if you do not, this may be an occasion for discussions about race that are different than the usual ones.

William McGaughey

***** *** ***** *** ***** *** ***** *** *****

Background discussion on E-democracy.org , US discussion list

The new Civil Wars



Ed Felien
Posted on July 30, 2015 at 10:15pm

There are two raging civil wars going on in the U.S. right now!

One is a race war: the white race against everybody else. And the second Muslims fighting against the occupation of their home countries by U.S. business interests.

At this point, white racist lone-wolf terrorists are killing non-whites at a rate twice that of lone-wolf Muslim terrorists killing U S soldiers. Most recently: in Charleston, S.C., Dylann Roof killed nine people of color at
Mother Emanuel Church on June 17; Mohammod Abdulazeez killed five Marines in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 16; John R. Houser killed two women and injured nine others at a movie theater in Lafayette, La., on July 23. That’s 11 fatalities from white racist terrorists versus five fatalities from Islamic terrorists.

When U.S. soldiers are killed by Islamic terrorists the nation goes into deep mourning. Flags are lowered to half-mast. Politicians express public sorrow and the determination to punish the offenders. When innocent victims are
murdered by racist terrorists in a church or a movie theater it is said to be the act of a deranged individual. But both acts must be seen as the acts of soldiers fighting for a cause. Both kinds of terrorists see themselves as patriots and martyrs for their cause. The hope of both white racist and Islamic terrorists is that their actions will spark a prairie fire that will consume their enemies.

We need to understand what these terrorists are thinking. What is the basis for their frustration? What is their cause?

As our society becomes increasingly technological and complex, more and more poor whites are being kicked to the gutter and they’re taking it out on the people they think are climbing over them—women, blacks, immigrants. This is not new. The Know Nothings believed the same things almost 200 years ago. They feared losing their jobs. To protect their sense of self-worth, they convinced themselves that white males were better than other people, so they were anti-women, racist and anti-immigrant. This philosophy becomes most explicit with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the Invisible Empire. In the 1920s, 50,000 poor whites in Akron, Ohio joined the Klan to protect their jobs from blacks moving up from the South. All the elected officials in Akron were members of the Klan, and they were explicitly sexist, racist and nativist.

That ideology has not gone away. But it has gone underground. Until Donald Trump called Mexican immigrants criminals, drug dealers and rapists, most Republican candidates had talked about strong immigration policies—which was their way of saying Mexicans were inferior and trying to steal American jobs.

When the Mall of America prosecutes members of Black Lives Matter for holding a rally in their public rotunda, that sends a dog whistle signal to racists that they will be safe at the Mall from being forced to interact with any uppity blacks who are trying to take their jobs or their place in line.

Most of the attacks on black people come from the local police. The FBI warned in 2006 that white supremacists had seriously infiltrated police departments nationwide and constituted a national threat. There was a racist backlash when six police officers were indicted for the murder of Freddie Gray who died of spinal injuries while in police custody. The police reacted by catching the Blue Flu—they stopped working, stopped making arrests. Racist blogs and websites continued to beat the drum for racial hatred and fear of black people. One joke that made the rounds of reactionary racists went something like this:

“The coach had put together the perfect team for the Baltimore Ravens. The only thing missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn't find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win. Then one night while watching CNN he saw a war-zone scene in the West Bank . In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Israeli soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand-grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away. KABOOM! He threw another hand-grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney. KA-BLOOEY! Then he threw
another at a passing car going 90 mph. BULLS-EYE!"I've got to get this guy!" Coach said to himself. "He has the perfect Arm!" So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Ravens go on to win the Super Bowl. The young man is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his Mother.’Mom,’ he says into the phone, ‘I just won the Super Bowl!’’I don't want to talk to you,’ the old woman says. ‘You are not my son!’

“‘I don't think you understand, Mother,’ the young man pleads. ‘I've won the greatest sporting event in the world. I'm here among thousands of my adoring fans.’

"’No! Let me tell you!’ his mother retorts. ‘At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn't get raped!’ The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says, ‘I will never forgive you for making us move to Baltimore!!!!’”

The joke is a two-fer for racists. Not only does it say that maintaining law and order means keeping black people in line, but it also treats Palestinians as less than human, and it says that blowing them up with hand grenades can be an admirable sport.

Mohammod Abdulazeez shares a similar profile to most other young American mass murderers. Like Dylann Roof, Jared Lee Loughner, James Eagan Holmes and Adam Lanza, he lost his job, had mounting debts and needed the martyrdom of one desperate act to redeem a life that was going nowhere. The difference was that he was acting on behalf of an Islamic Jihad against the domination of U.S. imperialism. In this case, as a Palestinian-American, Abdulazeez was probably trying to avenge the 2,200 lives lost in Palestine last year in Israel’s war on Gaza.

But it is not enough to describe the problem. We should also try to suggest solutions.

The U.S. government needs to recognize the tragic costs of failure in our aggressive and predatory economy. When a young man fails in America, he will often strike out at others, blaming them for his failures. The U.S. will spend $3 trillion next year on fighting Islamic terrorism. We need to spend some of that money on counseling young men about vocational options. No human being should consider themself a failure. All of us have worth. We need counselors to reaffirm the worth of young men who are lost in a sea of confusion and violence. We need to step forward to help these young men.

And we need to step back from the wars in the Middle East. Arabs and Persians and Jews are entitled to work things out for themselves. Our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc., has only made matters worse. And there is no reason to get caught in a 3,000-year-old struggle between Iran and Israel, between Nebuchadnezzar and the self-proclaimed King of Judah. They’re going to have to work that out for themselves.

 


Bill McGaughey
Posted on July 31, 2015 at 9:00 pm


I must disagree with my friend Ed Felien in his assessment of the two “civil wars” going on in the United States: a white war against black people and an Islamic terrorist war directed against the west.

I do not think there is anything like an organized “war” conducted against black people. There is an Islamic war in Afghanistan and Syria. However, the lone-wolf white males whose violence has recently been in the news were acting on their own. Dylann Roof was obviously lashing out against black people. Mohammod Abdulazeez seems to be an example of “Islamic” violence. Police do not know the motivation of John R. Hauser; he seems to have been angered by a divorce and foreclosure - my experience, too, by the way. His victims were two white women.

Ed and I have had discussions of race before. He thinks white people feel threatened by competition for educational slots and jobs from minorities. I think all people are threatened by expensive, useless educations and an absence of real productive jobs. Having sympathies for the white race myself, I do not feel motivated by the type of concern Ed raises.

Rather my concern is directed at anti-white attitudes in society. There is outright hatred of white people among our society’s cultural elite - in the media, religion, politics, and education. The insulting concept of “white privilege” is part of this. Whites are often ridiculed in the entertainment industry. The demeaning attitude taken toward me in my racial aspect does create a sense of alienation from society. I no longer have a community of my own.

There are other white people who are honest enough to admit that this problem exists. There are groups profiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center. I would be inclined to join such groups except that I think they are on the wrong path in attacking black people as a race. It would be better to focus upon the hatred directed against whites often in the name of tolerance and love, and make this the target of protest.

Recently, I have had the idea that white people’s political salvation lies in marching for their dignity. I have posted an advertisement for this at http://www.billmcgaughey.com/march.html. So far, I have found nobody to join me. Therefore, I may march by myself. I will march through downtown Minneapolis under the banner of “I am not ashamed of being white”.

Ed and I agree that there is a problem with white police officers killing blacks. I think we can agree it has to do with police attitudes. He would call it “racism”. I would say that the police need to develop better attitudes toward the civilian population they allegedly serve. They need better discipline.

But a call for better police discipline has gone nowhere. It is only when the problem is racialized that it gets political attention. So we have “black lives matter” when it ought to be “all people’s lives matter”. Racial differences serve certain political interests.

Two years ago, the Minneapolis police shot and killed a young black man in a basement in an incident that I think was worse than that in Ferguson, Missouri. But the police chief successfully stonewalled the public. Nothing was ever done to discipline the officers or change police policy.

How did the police chief do it? An outside consultant recommended that she redirect attention to racism in the police force. She formed a citizens committee to deal with this problem. She vowed to root out racism in the department. And so the blame was transferred from improper policing (which could cast doubt upon her own supervision) to racism among the low-ranking officers. Being a native American lesbian herself, the chief was inoculated against such criticism herself.

The political culture of America is sick and I think the anti-racism obsession is a large part of this. The Democrats have totally bought into this theme (so that they retain black voters as a monolithic bloc) and the Republicans are afraid to be seen as pro-white. So America’s majority population is under an enduring cloud of shame.

I will march in Minneapolis to say that I do not think this is right. I am not ashamed of my race; and other white people need not be ashamed either. We are not yet nothing.


Wizard Marks
Posted on August 1, 2015
at 7:14 pm


Mr. McGaughy is in error and Ed Felien is partially in error.

The civil war against black people is not new. It's been being fought since the first African was forced over here. It only shifts from hot to cold to tepid. Not a nice part of our behavior by any stretch.

 


Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm


My walk through downtown Minneapolis on behalf of my dignity as a white man will take place next Wednesday. There will be further announcements giving specific information.

Wizard Marks thinks she has the authority to pronounce that my views are erroneous. She does not. We each answer to ourselves on questions like this.

I decide who I am and want to be.


Rand Strauss
Posted on August 2, 2015 at 8:32pm


"Rather my concern is directed at anti-white attitudes in society."

There are few anti-white attitudes in society. "Anti-white" is largely a white invention, based on thinking minorities return the racism they're shown by some whites, as well as some others. Many seem to think lighter-skinned is better.

" The insulting concept of “white privilege” is part of this."

When my kids are out at night, I have no fear that they'll end up in jail, beaten. I have no fear that the police will watch their every move with suspicion. This is white privilege. When I go for jobs, the manager usually shares my skin tone and my "accent". Banks and car salespeople assume I have good credit. This is white privilege.

What's insulting about white privilege, for whites? I can see how it'd be insulting for people not bestowed it. But for whites?

" There is outright hatred of white people among our society’s cultural elite - in the media, religion, politics, and education. Whites are often ridiculed in the entertainment industry."

Everyone is ridiculed by comedians, but white people least of all. I asked a culture-savvy kid for his take on this, a college student who's also studying psychology and sociology.

He said no, whites are not ridiculed. And the previous statement, "outright hatred of white people among our society’s cultural elite" sounds paranoid.

If you can cite some quotes, both by entertainers and "cultural elite", I'm very interested in seeing the kind of occurrence you're reacting to.

Ed's position, given by you, sounds more accurate. Poor and lower middle-class whites feel a lot of competitive pressure and often economic hardship, yet the press focuses on the problems of blacks and latinos.

" The demeaning attitude taken toward me in my racial aspect does create a sense of alienation from society. I no longer have a community of my own."

When I contemplate where you could have gotten these feelings from, my best guess is that you've made up these meanings out of your personal circumstances. I'd be happy to talk to you about this off-line. I sent you a contact request.

In my view, the main difference between claims of anti-minority and anti-white prejudice is that all (or almost all), minorities know about anti-minority prejudice. But anti-white prejudice seems to be claimed by only a fraction of whites. Perhaps it's because it only exists some places and not others, but that wouldn't explain your comments about ridicule and hatred by entertainers and the elite.

Another difference is that minorities are usually extremely gracious about anti-minority prejudice. Even when they fight it, they fight prejudice, not whites. They cite specific arrests, brutality, discrimination, even specific comments, like Trumps remark about Mexican criminals. The only specific complaint I've heard about anti-white prejudice is affirmative action, which to me is not actually anti-white prejudice.

 


Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 2, 2015 at 10:05 pm


With respect to Rand Strauss' remarks, I'm afraid this will have to be a situation where people consult their own experiences and recollections in deciding whether there is an anti-white culture. I do not keep a log of racial
provocations. If I did, it would be to serve a preconceived agenda which would not be helpful here.

Am I hallucinating about this? You be the judge. If we all live in the same community but have sharply opposed interpretations of experience, it does not bode well for the future of that community. There must be some common, fact-based grounds.

 


Ed Felien
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 12:09 am


Bill,

Give us specific and concrete examples of how you have been discriminated against as a white male.

 

Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 12:33am


Well, I said I did not keep a list of such things. But now I am challenged to provide specific items as if I was talking through my hat. So here goes:

When in 1993 I bought an apartment building in Minneapolis filled mostly with black tenants, the neighborhood association supported by the city council representative (Jackie Cherryhomes) accused me of not doing enough to deal with crime in the building. I was ordered to evict all the tenants immediately. Some time later, the city condemned my building through two separate sets of inspectors, forcing me to make expensive repairs. The city was really after the crime, but politically it could not make black people the target of public criticism. The crime problem had to have a white face - mine. That is one example. The blame was shifted to me for reasons of racial politics.

Now another example: In the past two years, I have twice applied for a staff position with the Harrison Neighborhood Association. The position was Transportation and Housing Coordinator. My credentials were much better than those of the other candidates. I had been cost accountant at the Metropolitan Transit Commission for 16 years and had been co-leader of a citywide landlord organization. Even so, I was not invited to an interview in either case. The job posting strongly encouraged women and minorities to apply. In both cases, the successful job applicants stayed with HNA only for a short time.

I hope you will be big enough, Ed, to admit that I have given you what you asked for.

But really anti-white discrimination is not the issue. It is the pervasive attitude of hostility toward white people that results in subtle unkind treatment in various ways. It is also a generally demoralizing influence, pitting us vs. them. America is in decline for this and other reasons.

 


Dann Dobson
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 2:10am


Let's see, police officers are killing about one black person a day on average in the US, and Bill McGaughey is screaming about anti-white bias.

I can't speak for Bill, but I lived in the hood, Selby-Dale for 18 years, 1980 until 1998, and never once encountered anti-white bias.

But I agree with Wizard. The war against blacks is nothing new. It has gone on for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, it appears that some racists have traded in their sheets for blue uniforms, and have traded the rope for a 9mm Glock.

 


Ed Felien
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 10:12 am


Bill, thank you for the examples.

First, the deliberate harassment by Jackie Cherryhomes seems clearly a ploy on her part to curry political favor with the neighborhood group. I am sure no matter what color you were, if you were the owner of a property that had drug dealing or other criminal activity going on, Jackie Cherryhomes would "make an example of you" to convince the neighbors she was doing a great job. The fact that you're white and a leader of the landlord organization would make you an even more desirable target. But the essence of the attack was class based prejudice against the petit-bourgeois, a cheap shot against small business people. The irony is that your partner was a racial minority and you lived in the neighborhood.

So, my assessment is that you were probably discriminated against because of your status as a landlord and owner of the property, although this could have been exaggerated by your being white.

The second example is more clearly discrimination based on race. Yes, you may have been better qualified but passed over for a woman or minority because the people doing the hiring were using Affirmative Action to encourage hiring people who might not ordinarily get picked for such a position. The Baake Decision in 1978 validated Affirmative Action, saying race and gender could be used as part of the criteria for hiring someone or admitting them to college. I think this was a terrible decision. People compete against each other based on race or sex.

Both your examples (I think) are from 20 years ago. I think times have changed. Neighborhood groups are much more interested in working with landlords rather than bullying them and a quota system for hiring has been discouraged as social relations between ethnic groups become more mature.

I would very enthusiastically recommend you read The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats: "Culture
maverick Jim Goad presents a thoroughly reasoned, darkly funny, and rampagingly angry defense of America's most maligned social group - the cultural clan variously referred to as rednecks, hillbillies, white trash, crackers, and trailer trash. As The Redneck Manifesto boldly points out and brilliantly demonstrates, America's dirty little secret isn't racism but classism. While pouncing incessantly on racial themes, most major media are silent about America's widening class rifts, a problem that negatively affects more people of all colors than does racism. With an unmatched ability for rubbing salt in cultural wounds, Jim Goad deftly dismantles most popular American notions about race and culture and takes a sledgehammer to our delicate glass-blown popular conceptions of government, religion, media, and history."

Finally, I believe white males are a privileged group in America--in school, on the job, by the police. There are societal prejudices against minorities and women that benefit white males. This has been measured in police stops, funding allocations for education, hiring practices, etc. That seems, to me, to be the principal problem with racism in America.



Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 4, 2015 at 12:09am


Maybe "The Redneck Manifesto" would be a good book for me to read when I go on jury duty next week. Of course, I'd have to excuse myself for certain types of trials.

Thanks for your comments, Ed. Actually my second experience happened within the past two years.

The walk will start at the corner of Washington Ave. and Nicollet Ave. at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday. Anyone is welcome to participate or be a spectator.


Peter Thomas
Posted on August 4, 2015 at 6:05 am


Bill,

It really sounds like a lot of the things that you are finding abrasive to your dignity are not things you've ventured to explore in any depth with people outside of your Euro American demographic.

I certainly can relate to having a reaction to the term "White Privilege", especially if you first heard it from middle class college kids, who leveled it as a blaming blast, and who thought severe poverty was only being able to afford Burger King, and maybe you grew up not even being able to afford Burger King most of your formative years. .. Maybe a place like that was a once a season. ..maybe. ...treat.

Maybe it hurt your brain that people could even think of calling you privileged when punks in shiny new shoes eating daily fast food were being called "underprivileged" and you were being called "privileged" after earning any spending money you had by working in the fields til you were cotton mouthed and sunblasted, with blisters breaking open under your gloves....

After a childhood of highwater hand me down pants and worn out shoes that only gave up the ghost after years of being for chores, school, and church, polished and cared for til they couldn't be salvaged. Was that your deal, Bill?

I don't know.

But "privilege" in this setting isn't about that...it's really not saying that you had a butler, and polo ponies, and grounds groomed by gardeners that you could stroll.

It's a flawed term.

What it sounds like you don't understand, and maybe you haven't tried to understand, is that the way Whitecentric racism is deeply blended into the foundational substrates of the colonialism culture's institutions means that a "white" person has the 'privilege' of driving down the street with a strong likelihood that the same police who would statistically see a threat or problem based on color or perceived demographics...will almost certainly see a "person" when you drive by...Instead of a target. It really is a "privilege", in comparison to the realities of Latino, Black, and Native folk especially...to have an interaction with the police and not have the urgent reality that they likely see you as someone whom they can freak out on with impunity...looking for any opportunity to flip out and vent their frustrations on...with every statistically backed likelihood that they could torture, beat, and even kill you...without any prosecution whatsoever.

This problem affects people of color in extremely disproportionate levels, and it helped my awareness that multiple friends of friends were unarmed and murdered by the police, across the previous 12 years, and one personal acquaintance.

If you do some research on this issue with real people of color from the street level up, I think you will find treasure, really find real treasure....that you wouldn't find by just walking your "Dignity Walk" with a concentration on being heard.

I'm not sure how you missed that your walk is to be on stolen land, taken with deceit and massacres and concentration camps like Ft. Snelling, and $200 bounties on Dakota men, women, or children's severed ears...as proof of their slaughter....a little more than a century ago. ..

BY THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.
(Google 1863 Wilmar paper if you need to. )

Or....How you can really be blind to how much of the status quo is absolutely still just slightly altered 19th century slavery era industrialism.

I really "get" some of where you're coming from, seriously. .. and I get attacked reaaaaalllly harshly for having any opinions that don't conform to the emerging religions of P.C. that various subgroups proselytize... and at the same time I don't hear anything from you that indicates that you have attempted to really feel into, study, or comprehend the deep infusion of Eurocentrism, slave culture, colonialism, and genocidal legacy, that has shaped, spun, and directed so very much of your environment....and the current events happening in this era, involving all of us.

I hope you will engage leaders from demographics outside of your comfort zone in your Quest for dignity, as you discover how deeply your dignity is much more at risk from your own internal choices than anything others are saying.

All the Best,
Peter Thomas


Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm


Since he does not know me personally, I don't know where Peter Thomas gets the idea that I am a white person living in a white comfort zone who has little contact with or understanding of black people.

Maybe we could compare the amount of interaction that Thomas and I have with persons of another race. Is he himself black? Does he live with or near black people? Has he met them in coffee shops? What exactly are his qualifications for superior understanding?

Some blacks are immersed in racial victimhood while others are not. Our better future lies with the second group of people.

My quarrel is more with white people who are down on their own race than with blacks. I suspect that for some whites black people are an accessory to their own aspirations for a better identity. They are using blacks in a way.

 


Peter Thomas
Posted on August 4, 2015 at 3:19pm


Bill,

I think I spoke of in - depth conversation with community leaders on the specific topic of white privilege.

Nowhere did I imply that you don't know, or regularly interact with, any Black people or people of color.

 

Laura Waterman Wittstock
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Bill McGaughey wrote: “ Today, August 5th, I walked up and down Nicollet Avenue carrying a sign that read: “I am not ashamed/afraid to be white.” It was a personal statement of my view of the current state of race relations, partly growing out of discussions on the e-democracy forum.”

I think if your sign said, "I have no choice but to be white," it would have been a clearer statement. Shame and fear come from one's learning experiences. To profess no shame or fear is to criticize those who do feel those emotions. We live in a very mixed world, in many ways insulated from the realities the rest of the world has to deal with.

I met some African women at the first UN Women's Forum in Mexico City in 1975 who told me I could never speak of being oppressed when I come from such a fabulously rich and peaceful country as the United States. As shocking as I found this assertion, knowing what I did about how Indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere had been killed, their lands usurped, and the heavy boot of government put on their affairs, I had to think for a moment about what these women might mean.

These were educated women. They were tri-lingual in most cases: French, Native tongue, and English. They held fairly high governmental posts. I on the other hand was a journalist and at the time ED of the American Indian Press Association, located in Washington, D.C.

Yet they strongly felt I had privilege and they did not. I was forced to somewhat agree. I personally had some privilege via my job, but certainly thousands of my fellow countrymen lived in abject poverty, very similar to African village people.

Over the days, I ate with these women, we went on walking tours together, and got to know one another better. At the end of the 9 or 10 days we were there, we had come to enjoy one another's company and there was a huge reduction in criticism.

The lesson there is our race issues in this country are not so much about who is white and who is not - but intercepting a continuation of estrangement where little or no effort is made to know our neighbors, our fellow citizens, our countrymen. When whites move far away as they have in our community, they are saying they don't want to know other people, they want isolation, and they want a place uncluttered by those who are not white. That is what is crippling us as a country.

We are all humans - who have developed a propensity to look at our skins and see some sort of difference. I can guarantee you that on the operating table, no signs are necessary to signify who you are. Once the skin is cut, it is clear we are all the same.

It seems like such a hard lesson to learn: looking beyond the skin. But that is where we have to go to learn about our own humanity.

 

Wizard Marks
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Growing up, my parents, both first generation, had various quirks of language which may have been fairly universal for that time and place. However, that kind of language was passed on to all the kids in the neighborhood. (This neighborhood was all white, all Roman Catholic, and either of German or Irish extract--or both.) Doubtless we all know some of those quirks--for want of a better word. However, it sets the next generation up for carrying the racism and class values forward. Now, in our no longer segregated city, blabbing out one of those word groups hurts another's feelings and perpetuates the racism yet again. Sample: 'it's a Mexican standoff.'

All that kind of language perpetuates isolation from the amazing richness of all our neighbors.We are all obliged to censor our ingrained hatefulness rather than perpetuating our fears of the "other." Then we can focus on the REAL other - the sociopaths, the psychopaths, the confused who mow down people in a church or shoot kids in their schools, or annihilate people in a theater or movie house.

 

Mike Schoenberg
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 7:20 pm

The scenario that makes Rupert Murdoch jolt awake with night sweats must be one possibility, that he’ll lose control over the monster he wakened.It’s one thing tore-ignite the American Civil War.

<http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html> as a political tool, riling Red America’s wrath toward all elites who aren’t oligarchs. Hey, it worked for plantation owners in 1860… for a while. The Trump swivel-dance – Study them moves!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-trump-swivel-dance-study-them-moves.html

David Brin calls himself a "Smithian Libertarian" and often writes about The new Civil war. Interesting read, even the comments this time.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/11/liberals-you-must-reclaim-adam-smith.html

 

Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm

David Brin and others have interesting theories about the Confederacy carried forward into our own day. My contrarian view is based on mechanisms of social, economic, and political control.

The Civil rights model of politics - whether it applies to race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference - is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. The Republicans, with their “silent majority”, take no explicit stand on race, although they win support from disaffected whites by not being Democrats. There is no overtly pro-white faction of any consequence among either the Republicans or Democrats.

Corporate America is solidly behind anti-racist policies. Let me give a personal example.

Back in 2002, I ran for U.S. Senate in the Independence Party primary. I tried to differentiate myself as sharply as I could from both Democrats and Republicans. My campaign platform therefore consisted of two planks: 1. I propose a 32-hour workweek by 2010. 2. I favor dignity for white males. These two planks were intended to oppose the Republicans and Democrats respectively.

When I attempted to place a paid ad in the Star Tribune quoting these two planks, I was told that the Star Tribune would not accept any ad that contained the phrase “dignity for white males” Evidently, its “legal department” had recommended against acceptance of the ad. The Star Tribune publisher confirmed the policy although he did not offer any explanation.

This told me that there were serious problems with the values held in this community if a person could not say that he supported dignity for his own race. I suppose that a declaration of support for white people was taken to mean that the person had secret sympathies for violently anti-black groups.

My own subjective take on the situation is that “anti-racist” policies aimed at white people are one of the control mechanisms that the economic and political elite uses to keep less powerful whites in line. Black people, while not explicitly covered by such policies, also suffer indirectly.

My understand of the situation is that the power elite first discredits people morally and then exploits them financially and politically. If white people as a class are regarded as vile racists, then they of course deserve to be punished. Corporate America keeps them working for low wages and long hours while the CEOs get richer and richer. It is to the advantage of America’s ruling class to foster a derogatory view of the nation’s majority population so they can be treated without mercy. Race plays a key role in this process.

People have asked me if black people have harmed me in some way because I try to uphold white dignity. No, it is the power structure, fostering anti-white attitudes, that has harmed me. I was harmed when first the neighborhood group and city administration tried to run me out of business as a landlord and, more recently, when I have been hurt by legal processes in Minneapolis and Hennepin County. I have posted complete, detailed accounts of those bad judicial experiences at http://www.billmcgaughey.com/legalchallenges.html.

The cases involving myself on that web site have to do with domestic abuse, divorce, and foreclosure. I have also included analyses of court cases involving young black men who were convicted of murder and sentenced to many years in prison. I believe that both men were innocent of those charges. Since the guilty parties were also black, this may not represent anti-black bias as such. It is more an example of cheapening a person’s identity so that he can be abused without recourse. The current narrative of race relations cheapens us all, making us eligible for abuse.

 

Rand Strauss
Posted on August 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Some perspectives on privilege:

1 http://www.buzzfeed.com/dayshavedewi/what-is-privilege

2 http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamesstjamesvi/male-privilege-from-a-trans-guyas-perspective-1mcmp

3 http://www.buzzfeed.com/nickguillory/jessie-kahnweiler-white-privilege-los-angeles

 

 

***** *** ***** *** ***** *** ***** *** *****

Background discussion on E-democracy.org , Minneapolis discussion list

I am not ashamed to be white

Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm

In the aftermath of all the well-publicized shootings of black people by whites, the controversies about the Confederate flag, and the humiliating images of white people as a race, I feel compelled to make a public statement. I do not agree with the stereotypes that drive racial discussions in our community. As silence could imply consent, I will say as clearly as possible that I am not ashamed to have been born as I was. I am not ashamed to be white. Let me deal with specific issues.

I am not ashamed of myself and other whites that there was race-based slavery in the United States until 1865. I am not ashamed that a system of segregation existed in the southern states until fifty years ago in which blacks occupied an inferior position to whites. Those conditions are now ended, largely because of white people’s efforts and sacrifice. Also, the Confederate flag represents many different things in people’s minds besides the inhumane system of slavery.

It would be better for those who hate plantation slavery so much to combat the neo-slavery that exists in our own day: the economic exploitation by financial institutions, the injustices sanctioned by the courts, the horrendous working conditions that some lower-echelon workers have to endure. If you are so righteous and brave, take on the live slave masters rather than those long dead.

I am not ashamed of “racist” attitudes among whites unless my own. People are free to think as they please, based on their own personal experience. Black people, too, have hateful thoughts about whites. In their own way, they also tend to think they are superior. All people tend to generalize in ways flattering to themselves. However, I would not judge people by their thoughts but by their deeds. Thoughts are and ought to be free. Deeds that are harmful to others can be addressed through the legal process.

I do not condone the unjustified shootings of black people by police or by lone-wolf white males, but I do not assume responsibility for them as a white person. It is unfair to transfer the blame to the entire white race. The blame for the police killings should be directed more narrowly to the police who were involved, not only to the individual officers but also to the people who supervise them. We need better police policies and procedures. The blame for the lone-wolf killings falls upon the killers themselves. We have legal procedures to deal with murder. The idea of enhanced punishment for “hate crimes” is an invention that serves mainly political purposes.

I cannot ignore the fact that American politics is polarized on the basis of racial identity. Black people vote for the Democrats as a bloc; and white people tend less uniformly to vote Republican. To keep their constituencies in line, the Democrats must adhere to a type of racially slanted expression called “political correctness”. They must pass laws designed to combat white racism. They must excoriate the racial bigot. For their part, the Republicans dare not appease white voters in a similar way because the Civil Rights legacy is so strong. They also realize that in 25 years whites will be a minority population so that they as a party would not want to position themselves to be on the wrong side of history.

I am objecting to the "anti-racist" culture in politics and society. This culture has little to do with actual black people or actual whites going about their daily business. Rather, it is a way of intimidating America’s majority population to justify their exploitation. The anti-racist theme serves political, financial, and corporate interests. It is no accident that our political system is broken. There is no community of good will to fix it. People are too divided.

You do not know who I am. For all you know, I am someone who secretly wants to lynch black people but disguises the fact. Such is the lurid atmosphere of hate and suspicion that surrounds discussions of race that someone like me, a racial heretic, will be thoroughly demonized. And that is why I feel a need to act at this time and be open about it. In the next half century, I hope that race relations in America will be sanitized and racial discussions will be more evenhanded.

I will be walking through downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday with a sign saying that I am not ashamed to be white. I will be at the corner of Washington and Nicollet Avenue at 11:45 a.m. and, at noon, will start walking up Nicollet to
12th Avenue. Then I will go over to Marquette Avenue and walk back down again to Washington. The whole exercise should last about an hour.

I would be delighted if people would join me on this walk. I know the cause is politically difficult, if not dangerous, but some may agree with its sentiment. Even if you do not, this may be an occasion for discussions about race that are different than the usual ones.


Bree Dalager
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 4:36pm


What the I can't even.


Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 3:37pm


I'm not sure what the message from Bree Dalager means.

The walk connected with this topic starts at the corner of Washington and Nicollet Avenues shortly before noon tomorrow (Wednesday). We go up Nicollet to 12th Avenue S., over to Marquette Avenue, and then back again to Washington.

For anyone interested, it should be a good opportunity to talk about race relations in Minnesota and elsewhere.


Matt Perry
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 3:56pm


Announcing this "event" in the forum is permitted since it is happening in Minneapolis.

The content of the discussion as framed by Mr. McGaughey's original post in this thread is outside the scope of this forum as it is not specific to Minneapolis. The discussion is better suited for the E-democracy.org US Issues Forum. http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/us

I encourage the discussion to be taken up in the US Issues Forum by those interested in continuing it.

I don't except to see any further discussion of this topic in this thread unless it is within the forum's scoping rules. That is, specific to Minneapolis.

If you have concerns about this decision, please contact me directly and *offlist* at mattp AT pobox DOT com. Discussion of forum in the forum is prohibited by our forum rules.

Matt Perry
Forum Manager


Marcia Greenfield
Posted on August 3, 2015 at 7:10pm


There is so much to respond to in Bill McGaughey's commentary, but let me take on just one issue: segregation in the South (and in the North, as well) was not ended "largely because of white people’s efforts and sacrifice."

The strides that have been made toward racial equality are largely because of the efforts and sacrifice of black people. Thurgood Marshal and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King; the
NAACP, SCLC, CORE, and SNCC; Rosa Parks; the list goes on and on. As does the list of the African American men and women who led the early efforts here in the 1950 and 60's in Minnesota: Fredrick L. McGhee, the Reverend Denzil A. Carty, Nellie Stone Johnson, Harry Davis, Josie Johnson, Syl Jones, Gwen Davis, Matt Little, and so many, many more.

And, most important, we should never forget the immeasurably longer list of African-American men who stood up for their rights and were beaten and lynched; the thousands of black soldiers who came home after risking their lives in WWII and refused to return to second class citizenship; the African-American women who walked to work rather than ride the bus and endured indignities day afterday.

These are the heroes whose courage and leadership, sacrifice, suffering and death have made our society a better place and to whom we, black and white, all owe a debt of gratitude.

 

Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm


Today, August 5th, I walked up and down Nicollet Avenue carrying a sign that read: “I am not ashamed/afraid to be white.” It was a personal statement of my view of the current state of race relations, partly growing out of discussions on the e-democracy forum.

Press releases were sent to the major media in Minneapolis but none responded. Race relations may define the major political fault line in America at this time, but it is clear that the commercial media are not interested in covering this “conversation” if it is not conducted in the right way.

With respect to the event itself, it could best be characterized: Nothing much happened. I walked up and down Nicollet Mall at a moderately brisk pace, stopping for brief conversations and photos. The overall tone of the event was positive. There were no threats of violence but also no expressions of ecstatic support.

The crowd on Nicollet Avenue was about evenly divided between whites and racial minorities. I would say that the reaction was much the same from both groups except that whites were less apt to stop for conversation. The corporate types walked by with eyes averted.

There were two kinds of reaction: (1) Some persons wanted to know why I was doing this. I generally described my walk as a protest against the negative image of white people or the poor state of race relations, adding that being pro-white did not imply being anti-black. Almost without exception, people were satisfied with that explanation. Some even said they agreed with me. (2) There were simple statements of acceptance. Blacks said things like “you have nothing to be ashamed of” or “I’m not ashamed to be black either”.

On the other hand, one black man said he had “mixed feelings” about my event after hearing my explanation. Another, rather ominously, took a video of me with the sign and said I would become “internationally famous”. White people, if they reacted at all, were more likely to honk or give thumbs up. By far the largest number of people simply ignored the event.

Lots of people took pictures without stopping for conversation. On my long walk back to the car, I ran into a man who seemed to be a professional photographer who took lots of photographs of me with the sign. He said he was doing something on the Hennepin County burner, but, other than that, I have no idea how or if the photographs will be used.

This, then, is my subjective account of how racial statements printed on signs play out during the lunch hour on Nicollet Avenue.

 

Jim Bernstein
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 4:36 am

To be fair, the STAR TRIBUNE has devoted hundreds of column inches over the past several years to covering many conversations and many events focused on or relevant to race relations in Minnesota, the United States but especially in Minneapolis. One guy walking down Nicollet Avenue downtown carrying a sign is not an event. It is . . . well, one guy walking down Nicollet Avenue carrying a sign. It is not news.

 

Gregory Reinhardt
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 1:24 pm

It would seem you should know the unspoken rules of media in the Minneapolis Metro, you might get more attention. Any story about a kid, an animal or notable death trumps stories or events of substance. A kid with a dog who has
cancer and is about to die would even surplant Trump winning a nomination. You hit the trifecta. Lions, hoopsters and a funeral. On the surface, a case of bad timing.

 

Frederica Scobey
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Greg,

There's one more for local television, fires! Burning buildings are a must for the visual media.

 

Michael Thompson
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 3:36 pm

I dunno, Fredda. If a fourth-grade art fair broke out anywhere in Minneapolis, local TV might have a tough choice!

 

Emilie Quast
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 3:47 pm

CUTE KITTENS! CUTE KITTENS!!

(and ducks crossing the freeway)

 

Anthony Hanson
Posted on August 6, 2015 at 7:49pm

Or maybe the media didn't show up because its not a story at all. There is no bad image of white people in the media. There is a clear bad image assigned to all other races though. You can see this in Donald Trump's recent statements about Mexicans. You dont have any crazy black people or mexicans making comments about all the white people raping all our women (even though it would be a more factually acurate statement). Even kare 11 recently aired a story about how rape kits werent by properly tested in Minnesota and during the story they showed images of convicted sex offenders and not one of the people they showed were white not one. Just think about the recent shootings, if its a black muslim its terrorism, but if its a white guy shooting up a black church we have to have a debate about weather it was even race related. Bill Im sorry but you are wasting your time and energy for no good reason.

 

Wizard Marks
Posted on August 8, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Thank you, Mr. Hanson

 

Jonna Connelly
Posted on August 10, 2015 at 9:17 am

Perhaps there was no press attention because they are experienced enough to interpret your sign as saying, "Look at me!"

 

Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 10, 2015 at 9:17 am

The forum moderator had asked that further comments on this subject be made on the US forum. However, a number of persons on this forum have interpreted my walk on Nicollet Mall last week as a narcissistic exercise in which I was
demanding that the media pay attention to me. Of course, it was not news that a single individual carrying a sign made such a walk, they say.

I made the walk for the sake of the message on the sign: “I am not ashamed/afraid to be white.” Race relations in our community are in a poor state. My belief is that the systematic disparagement of white people as a race does not help matters but instead creates submerged feelings of bitterness among white people who are punished if they express their feelings openly. Much intimidation is involved in the process. My exercise, whether or not anyone agrees with it, was intended to defy the intimidation and generate open discussion on this important topic.

There is a kind of mandatory belief on race relations that rises to the level of a civic religion. The intensity of thinking and enforcement of belief resembles that during the Inquisition and the witchcraft trials. I am a racial heretic who refuses to go along with this hateful process. Herd thinking on social and political topics is seldom beneficial.

Why should the media want to cover a solitary walk? Certainly it is not to suggest a political trend. It may be to show that a political animal, believed extinct, yet resides in our community. If Bigfoot showed up on Nicollet Mall, would that not be news?

 

Jack Ferman
Posted on August 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm

That a Minneapolis resident walks on a Minneapolis street carrying a sign declaring himself is not proper fodder as a United States issue. Perhaps had his sign's message ended with the two words, "in Minneapolis," there would have been 3 and not just 2 facts defining the post as 'Minneapolis specific.'

 

Linda Mann
Posted on August 11, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Like Bill, I am definitely not afraid to be white in Minneapolis because I can be pretty certain I won't be detained or killed for no reason by the cops. As for ashamed? I've done the most I can to disassociate myself from racist whites and protest police brutality. I think that beats carrying a sign that most people would interpret ambiguously at best.

 

Jonna Connelly
Posted on August 12, 2015 at 1:29 am

Perhaps I'm just not paying attention but I haven't seen any systematic disparagement of white people as a race. From what I can tell we're still pretty much running things.

 

Bill McGaughey
Posted on August 13, 2015 at 8:05 am


This will be my last posting on the subject of not being ashamed to be white. I cannot help noting that I am the only person participating in this thread who felt that that there was a problem with anti-white attitudes in our culture. No one shared my point of view. Perhaps a dozen persons disagreed.

Am I living in another world? Assuming not, why is my view of race relations as expressed in public so different than everyone else’s? Mental illness, perhaps? I don’t think I am mentally ill nor would I pin this label on persons holding an opposite view.

I do think, however, that there is an ideological orthodoxy, sometimes called “political correctness”, that holds a tight grip on people and prevents a variety of opinions from being expressed. Just as a 100% vote in an election suggests the absence of democracy, so the uniformity of opinion regarding race relations suggests an unhealthy situation in which deviant thoughts are suppressed.

I cannot convince anyone to accept my point of view, nor do I wish to do so. The bottom line is that each person needs to take an honest look at what he or she has personally experienced and fearlessly determine the truth on that basis.

 

Jason Goray
Posted on August 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm

I've only lived in this country for a bit over 4 decades. In that time, I also have never felt ashamed of being white or afraid about being white. Nor during that time have I felt any degree of pressure to feel that shame or fear.

I have, at times, felt ashamed for being ignorant of the history of our nation. I was able to shed that shame by becoming more educated.

I have also, at times, felt ashamed for not recognizing that the very reasonable rights and privileges I have as a member of our society are not extended to all of my fellow citizens. I was able to shed that shame by becoming more educated.

Once I lost those shames, I realized I then had some shame for not doing what I could to support more equal treatment for all people.

So, that's where I am. Like everyone else should be granted, I carry no burden of shame for my gender, pigment, or orientation. I do, however, sometimes feel shame when feel that I'm not doing enough to ensure that every citizen of our country has the same privileges that I do regardless of their color, gender, or sexual orientation.

Oh, also, while I realize it is not my fault, I also sometimes feel somewhat embarrassed by proxy when I see other straight white men whinge and make a big drama about how unfairly they perceive they're being treated.

- phaedrus

 

Scott Vreeland
Posted on August 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm

What is not always apparent is, that wherever we are on the political spectrum, how much we have been impacted by racial politics. What is even more troubling is: "Dog Whistle Politics-How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class."

I keep thinking about William and his sign about not being ashamed... I admire his courage to talk about race.

What Ian Haney Lopez writes about, among other issues, is how strategic racism (intentional use of race to create concentrated wealth and power) has transformed our country to a place where it is the victimization of whites that has become a pervasive moral evil. "In a 2011 poll, more than half of whites thought that discrimination against their race was "as big a problem" as the mistreatment of nonwhites"

William with his Nicollet Ave. placard about not being ashamed of being white is newsworthy because of how invisible and pervasive political racism has become and how deeply he feels that anti-racism is an unfair burden.

William wrote, "For their part, the Republicans dare not appease white voters in a similar way because the Civil Rights legacy is so strong. They also realize that in 25 years whites will be a minority population so that they as a party would not want to position themselves to be on the wrong side of history."

This is the point of dog whistle politics- Neither sentence is true. The whistles are being blown loudly-we just don't hear them.

In fact, racial politics, disguised as get government off our backs, family values, welfare, war on drugs, voter fraud, fear of integration and immigration, have fueled white fears that have become so "commonsense rhetoric" that we assume these are not race based codes that increase disparities of poverty and racial inequity.

To bring this back to a Minneapolis discussion:

There is something Minneapolis specific in why it is so difficult for us to talk about race and about racism. It is because "we are not racists". It is "others"... the deep South, Confederate Flags, bigots and John C. Calhoun that are the problem. In Minneapolis it might be useful to look at why such a generally progressive city is also a city with large racial disparities. I was talking with my son about YWCA trainings about eliminating racism and how emotional and defensive white people are when race is first discussed and people say out loud "I am not a racist".That is usually the end of a meaningful conversation (and understanding of the nature of racism).

The conversation has moved to be about whether you are a bad person or not. I am not a bad person, therefore I cannot be racist, is not true. I am not a bad person, therefore I cannot be racist is so Minneapolis, and it is so not true. You can be a very nice person and yet be part of the problem that creates inequity based on race.

William was so concerned about the dangers of anti-racist culture in politics and society that he marched with a sign about unfairness. (And yet in 1979 the Supreme Court ruled that for non whites there is no discrimination without proven hate or malice, but for whites and affirmative action, "constitutional harm occurred the moment that government took express notice of race". "Since the Supreme Court adopted the malice test in 1979, it has never found discrimination against non whites under that approach, not even once")

William's sign should be: I am not a bigot, But I am here with a sign because I have been seduced by political operatives to think that it is anti-racists that are the cause of racial animosity. I finally realize that there is a problem that needs to be fixed and will work to understand that we will not fix the problem by pretending we are colorblind. I need to read about dog whistle politics.

The issue isn't whether being white is shameful or not, it is about whether there is a problem that needs to be fixed and how to work on strategies of undoing racism. I suggest a different path for white people, we are not in a post racial society, we are in a city that is harmed by racial politics that exist both nationally and locally. First, we need to be able to talk about race and racism. Second, we need to realize the Internet is not the best place for discussions about racism. And Third we have to take ownership of our individual and collective biases and prejudices in a way that does not start with whether we are nice or not, but allows us to see how racism continues to evolve.

Thanks,
Scott Vreeland
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Commissioner District # 3
(612) 721-7892

I highly recommend and am quoting from: Dog Whistle Politics-How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney Lopez

And I highly recommend listening to Changing the lights: http://racialequityalliance.org/2015/03/15/using-a-racial-equity-toolkit/ which literally sheds a light on understanding equity and features Glenn Harris and Julie Nelson.

 

Doug Mann
Posted on August 25, 2015 at 6:13 am

Minneapolis has huge racial disparities in access to education, employment, housing, health care, etc. Illegal race based discrimination plays a big role in that. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related legislation included very weak provisions, or none at all to detect and prosecute covert race discrimination. Eliminating racial discrimination too quickly via legislative action would cause a white backlash, or so the argument went, back in the day.

The government at the federal, state and local continue to play a role in preserving systemic racism in the post-Civil Rights Movement era by permitting covert discrimination in employment, housing and other fields; and by laws and public policies that have a disparate impact on marginalized people of color. Unequal enforcement of criminal laws is getting some media attention lately. And there are occasional news articles and commentaries about racial segregation and inequitable resource allocation in the K-12 public school system. Most policies that harm poor people have a disparate effect on marginalized people of color.

I believe that the interests of most people of all colors, including a majority of whites who have to work for a living are served by eliminating systemic racism, and not by perpetuating it.

I see no reason to be proud or ashamed of an accident of birth. That is usually what determines race assignment. And I associate the slogans "white pride" and "white power" with good old fashioned White Supremacist movements like the Klu Klux Klan and NAZIs.

I think that being a racist is a matter of choice. It is up to you whether to support, oppose, or passively accept the status quo. In the absence of a movement that makes demands on the government to eliminate racism, it is pretty hard to tell who the real racists and aren't. Nobody has to take sides.

In what passes for education about racism in university courses, racism is presented as a trait of whites because they have power and privilege. It is not a choice. And the ongoing role of law and public policy in perpetuating racial discrimination and the notion of whites being a superior race is not examined.

There are memes on social media with a quote attributed to Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, that goes something like, "you don't fight fire with fire, you fight fire with water. You fight racism with solidarity. . ."

I stood for election to the Minneapolis School Board many times on a platform of eliminating systemic racism in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Marginalized people of color attending Minneapolis Public Schools are heavily exposed to inexperienced and less qualified teachers, and more heavily assigned to watered-down curriculum tracks.

The state of Minnesota recently acknowledged that 20% of Minneapolis Public School Teachers are in their first 3 years of employment. On average, about 3% of newly hired teachers in Minnesota public schools are new hires. You can bet that the lion's share of new teachers are not going to the city's more affluent, and mostly white neighborhoods.

The district claims that it can't afford to increase retention of newer teachers, and thereby shrink the pool of inexperienced teachers. The district can easily and often fire teachers during their 3 year, post hire probationary period simply by sending them a lay off notice. Most are "performance layoffs" in recent years. This is marketed as a school improvement strategy, "keep the best [teachers], and fire the rest." But it actually downgrades the quality of education in schools that do the most hiring and firing of new teachers.

This only make sense as a cost-saving strategy, and it certainly has a disparate impact on marginalized students of color. That makes it a racist policy. Why is not the teachers union opposed to it? I would like to her an explanation from the current president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. Where does the social justice caucus of MFT 59 stand?

 

another walk (August 20, 2015)

Mr. Vreeland’s posting was encouraging. Although I was not familiar with “dog-whistle politics, it is likely that such a game is played.

I decided the repeat the walk on the following day, August 20, although without advance announcement of the event either in press releases or on the Minneapolis e-democracy forum.

This time, I parked my car in a two-hour zone on Third Avenue South near the Stevens Square neighborhood. I walked past the Minneapolis Convention Center to my starting point, 12th and Marquette. From here, I walked down to Washington Avenue , headed east for a block to Nicollet Avenue, then walked back up to 12th Avenue, and finally returned to my car. It may have been twenty-five blocks in all.

This event was quieter than the previous one. Hardly anyone engaged me in conversation where the crowds were most dense. I passed by the people waiting for the food trucks on Marquette Avenue near 7th street and the many people seated outdoors at restaurants on Nicollet Avenue between 10th and 12th streets. Sometimes people cast a glance at my sign but said nothing.

I remember a young black woman staffing one of the food trucks flashed a pleasant smile and I waved in return. Occasionally white people would give me a thumbs up. Once or twice people asked what the sign meant. My standard response was to say that I believed there was an anti-white theme in our culture and I was protesting that. There were no unpleasant incidents.

To my knowledge, no one snapped pictures of the sign until the last few blocks. Then a young Asian woman asked if she could take a picture of me and I gave permission. A young white man took a photo while riding by on a bicycle. Then, finally, a young black woman near the convention center took a photo or video while asking me to explain the sign, which I did. She, too, accepted my explanation.

In short, the walk was relatively uneventful; but I had the sign and felt it worthwhile to repeat the walk and see what would happen. Other than in this posting, there has been no public mention of my second walk with the sign,”I am not ashamed/afraid to be white”, through downtown Minneapolis during the noon hour.

 

Still another walk (August 28, 2015)

I thought I was done with sign demonstrations. Then my wife expressed interest in going to downtown Minneapolis to see Hillary Clinton who, along with other candidates, was making a presentation to the Democratic National Committee. I had other things to do. But then, early in the afternoon on Friday, August 28th, I decided this would be a rare opportunity to view high-level politics. Because my wife had other business, I wound up attending the event myself.

I parked in the Stevens Square neighborhood, across I-94, and then walked via the skyway from the Convention Center to the Hilton Hotel where the DNC event was being held. I checked with the desk in the main lobby to see if the public could attend any of the meetings. No, but there were candidate’s hospitality rooms on the second floor.

There are four announced candidates for President with the Democratic Party: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee. Their hospitality rooms were mostly empty. The Sanders people were selling campaign accessories such as tee shirts. Two people were talking in the otherwise empty Clinton room. The O’Malley and Chafee rooms had no one at all. There were a few tables with campaign literature and signup sheets, but that was it. Clearly the action was not on the second floor.

I headed for the escalator to the third floor but was stopped by a security person. Did I have credentials?, he wanted to know. I had to confess that I had no credentials. I would therefore not be allowed to proceed to the third floor. Since nothing was happening here that I could observe, I headed back home. On the way out of the hotel, I passed through a revolving door with Congressman Keith Ellison coming the other way. I had run against him in 2008 as a third-party candidate but he seemed not to recognize me.

Walking back to my car, the thought struck me that I should have brought my “I am not ashamed/afraid to be white” sign to the Hilton. These days, politics is all about gender and race. The Democrats are the party of women and minorities. The Republicans are the party of white males. I am a white male. Therefore, I am, by default, a Republican or, at least, not a Democrat. The Democrats do have a few white males but being ashamed of their whiteness and maleness helps being admitted to their club.

I wanted to return to this scene because twelve years earlier - in June 2003 - I had launched my presidential campaign at the last meeting of the Democratic National Committee. It was held at the Radisson Riverfront hotel in St. Paul. There I had spent a few minutes talking with Amy Klobuchar, now a U.S. Senator. I had also been discovered by Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary film producer for HBO who was also the daughter of Nancy Pelosi. She promised to cover my campaign in Iowa. Thanks to her, I also met the chairman of California’s Democratic Party. So the memory of that action-packed event made me want to return. But I had to carry a sign to generate meaningful activity.

I drove home to pick up the sign and then returned to Stevens Square and to the Hilton hotel, arriving around 3 p.m.. I walked back and forth in front of the hotel on Second Avenue, about twenty yards away from the front door. This was close enough to the door that people could read my sign if they wanted to, but not to engage them personally in conversation. For that I had to walk to either side where the walk way from the front door joined the main side walk.

When I stepped into an area where cars gathered to pick up people from the DNC meeting, a Hilton security guard reminded me that this was private property. I had to remain on the main sidewalk near the street. Later another security man, possibly a supervisor, told me that, for my own good, I should consider crossing to the other side of Second Avenue where I was more likely to be interviewed by the media. It was a suggestion that I felt I could not totally refuse. I did cross the street but, seeing no one there except for people at a bus stop, I returned to the Hilton sidewalk five minutes later.

A few DNC meeting attendees did acknowledge my presence. A burly black man gave me the thumbs up, a friendly gesture that I returned. Two white women cheerfully remarked “Me, neither”, evidentally referring to my statement about not being ashamed of my demographic identity. A white man also crossed through the car staging area to ask why I was carrying the sign. I said it was to protest racialized politics. The politicians ought to be talking about jobs. The man said that jobs were a prime topic of conversation at the DNC meetings. I expressed regret that I was not allowed to attend those meetings. Still, it was a cordial conversation. In fact, most of my brief encounters were friendly in tone except for one with a well-dressed man who I heard muttering “idiot” under his breath.

The most meaningful encounters I had that afternoon were with a group of Somali cab drivers parked on the street in front of the Hilton. One confided that he, too, was not a Democrat. He did not believe in gay marriage. He asked about my career back ground and other subjects in a friendly manner. His colleague, not quite so friendly, remarked that our political leaders were mostly white men and, then, in an understatement, he added: “They, too, are proud of being white.” But, on the whole, the Somali cab drivers were my closest and most sympathetic companions at this event.

Other than this, I was photographed several times by people in front of the Hilton. I spoke briefly with a young man who was protesting the small number of candidate debates. But mostly, the people who walked past me and the sign were uninterested in engaging me on the subject of race. Most simply averted their eyes. Around 4:20 p.m., it seemed that the crowds (never too thick) had thinned considerably. I returned home, mission accomplished to the extent that was possible. My timing had not been the best.

 

back to: analysis

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2015 THISTLEROSE PUBLICATIONS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.BillMcGaughey.com/notashamed.html