Tag Archives: white people

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How to Move Forward and Fight Better Political Battles (Starting Right Now)

Last night, I posted the following status update to my Facebook account:

 

Wait, there’s been reports of racial harassment to people of color from Trump supporters? Well, we shouldn’t be surprised.

I mean, when white Republicans send candidates to the White House, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending a candidate with supporters that have lots of problems. They’re bringing crime, and they’re racists, and some of them, I assume, are good people.

 

It was my tongue-in-cheek way of trying to get conservative Republicans who feel defensive about accusations of racism to see how it feels to be targeted rhetorically, and then to remind them that guess what? Your choice for president said this, and much more.

But satire is always a risky proposition when it comes to making a point, and most of the time it ends up serving as a way to signal congratulations from people who already agree with you. Last night’s post was no exception. A bunch of my Facebook friends who knew what I meant, laughed. (One friend said she laughed so hard, she ran out of capital letters. “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahaha,” That cracked me up.)

On the other hand, a few of them responded somberly, aghast at the ideological divide that this election has revealed. They wanted to stick up for people they know who voted for Trump who they feel are good people who agonized over a difficult choice and just made it differently than I did.

I get that.

I still think they’re wrong for choosing Trump, but I get it.

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Going Rogue Threatens God’s Mission for Justice

Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is out in theaters, and it dutifully fills all the boxes in the spy thriller checklist. Lifelike masks? Death-defying stunts? Car chases? Gunplay and physical combat? Glamorous locales? Check, check, checkity-pop-zoom-bam-BOOM.

One thing that stuck with me was the title; an interesting development, because action movie titles are often pretty irrelevant. They’re designed to sound intriguing-and-dangerous-but-vague, and too often come across instead as techno-gibberish. (Does anyone remember what “Ghost Protocol” referred to in the fourth M:I installment? Don’t look it up on Wikipedia, that’s cheating.)

On the contrary, a whole nation going rogue? That’s much easier to understand. The phrase picked up steam in the broader consciousness after Sarah Palin entitled her 2009 political memoir Going Rogue, reclaiming a definition of a rogue not simply as “someone who lacks judgment or principle,” but “someone who deviates from the expected norm of behavior.”

(Say what you want about Sarah Palin, but she’s amazing at deviating from expected norms.)

In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the rogues in question take the form of a nefarious collective of foreign agents called The Syndicate, all united in the pursuit of a terrorist agenda.

So with the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) shut down by Congress, super spy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) must rely on his friends, comic relief Simon Pegg as Benji, the steely-eyed Jeremy Renner as chief analyst Brant, Ving Rhames’ muscly perma-smirk as the homie Luther, and Rebecca Ferguson as mysterious femme fatale Ilsa Faust – all working together to defeat The Syndicate, and to a lesser extent, justify the IMF’s existence.mission impossible cast profiles

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Whaddya Mean, About Race?

This is a response I see a lot… all the time, in fact.

I saw it in response to the Ferguson shooting, but honestly I’ve been seeing it for years… decades, perhaps. It’s  a common response from white people who don’t understand why everything is always about race with you people.

So I thought I’d write about it.

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You Done Messed Up, A-A-Merica

Right now, Christena Cleveland and Keegan-Michael Key are two of my favorite people in the world. Though they operate in different disciplines and run in very different circles, they are both excellent at what they do. And I often find myself highlighting their work on social media.

christena clevelandChristena Cleveland, a social psychologist with a focus on overcoming racial and cultural divisions between groups, blogged recently about a phenomenon she refers to as the white male industrial complex. Adapted from an Emily Rice quote about the “ally industrial complex,” it’s her term for the ways in which Christian social justice work, like everything else in American society, tends to be oriented around the tastes, whims, and emotional climate of white men. (More on this later.)

Keegan-Michael Key is the taller, lighter-skinned half of Key & Peele, the incredibly funny sketch comedy duo on Comedy Central. And his brilliant comedy chops are the key to this, one of their most popular, sidesplitting sketches, entitled “Substitute Teacher.”

Behold…

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If You Want to Be My Friend, Don’t Do This

I give a brief hat tip and a shout out to Lynne Childress of The Sweet Midlife, who brought this back up in her Facebook feed the other day. It rekindled all kinds of thoughts and feelings that I’ve been meaning to say for years, but never took the time to do so.
So in the spirit of resisting any further procrastination, here it is…

 


 

If you want to be my friend on any level, please see to it that you never use the phrase “the race card.”

Being someone who appreciates vivid word pictures and solid metaphors, I can appreciate its allure. “The race card” is one of those expressions that is handy for White people who wish to convey their frustration about racial discussions, particularly when they feel that race is being injected into the conversation in ways that it doesn’t belong. It’s often accompanied by the idea that such an injection is an example of “reverse racism.”

But it’s got to stop, and here’s why:

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Obama Effigy: By Colonel Mustard, With the Candlestick, In the Library

With so much name-calling and blind accusations flying around in the wake of the Obama effigy incident at good old Gee Eff You (that still cracks me up), my expectations for thorough, nuanced reporting or analysis have remained pretty low, because most of the noise generated has been voiced in comments sections of articles where, by and large, a lot of folks don’t even begin to have a clue about the larger issues at play.

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by a Newsweek piece that I read today, which does its best to deal with the hardest question surrounding investigators: what was the motive behind hanging Obama in effigy?

The best part was discussion of the concept of “the limited good,” which may be an understandable explanation for the undercurrent of resentment that many White students may have toward programs like Act Six:

That’s a phenomenon called “the limited good,” explains Ron Stansell, a professor of religion at the school, and it may have more to do with the effigy hanging than outright racism. The concept, in anthropology, refers to the perception that wealth is a finite entity, such that one person’s gain is at another person’s expense; that economic life is a zero-sum game.

“I think that’s what I’m seeing here,” Stansell says. Students might think to themselves, “Here are minority students that have gotten a benefit I have not gotten. It must mean, in the cosmic scope of things, that I’ve been cheated.”

The point is that academic success is not a zero-sum game, where certain students only succeed if they can do so at others’ expense.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t winners and losers in college life, because there are winners and losers in all frames of life. It just means that the people who blame other students of color in general, the Act Six program specifically, and (almost inexplicably) Senator Obama for their own insecurity or lack of opportunity shouldn’t look much further than the mirror if they want a clearer assessment of culpability.

More specifically, the four individuals who owned up to this abhorrent prank are not losers because they chose to hang a cardboard cutout of Obama from a tree and scrawl “Act Six reject” on it. They were most likely losers in some shape, form or fashion already. All they did with their prank is notify the rest of the world of their decency deficit.

I hope that Newsweek story will be the last word on this particular incident, because what students at George Fox need, more than knowing the motive for the crime, is how to move forward and bring more healing into their community.

And thanks be to God, they already have a clue about how to do that. Matter of fact, they have more than a clue.

They have the whole story.

I’m Jelani Greenidge, and thanks for Mixin’ It Up with me.

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A True Christian Would Never Read This Post (Or Use Sarcasm to Make A Point)


Which means that if you’re reading this, you’re are one of two kinds of people:

1. You’re one of us, meaning you are a believer of Jesus Christ who just can’t measure up to the super-spiritual standard we see in evangelical culture, and you’re looking for a little more levity and authenticity in life,

OR

2. You’re not a believer in Jesus Christ, but you DO enjoy seeing what all gets all the Godheads’ undies in a bunch.

In either case, I have another fun site to promote.

And honestly, what surprises me is not that this site exists, but how long it took me to find out about it.

In the spirit of Stuff White People Like, and Stuff Educated Black People Like, I give you:

Stuff Christians Like.

Oh. My. God. Goodness.

Between this site and the whole Jesus People thing (thanks to Dan Ewald for leaving a comment!) I’m finding more encouragement that other people are thinking about the kinds of things that I think about.

Like, for example,

Fake swear words/phrases.

Mediocre graduation gifts.

Judging people out jogging on Sunday mornings.

Or, on a more serious note, Letting Porn Win.

Not only do I find myself being somewhat of the same mind as o’ Prodigal Jon (who writes the blog) but it geniunely made me laugh out loud. And not in the way like most people write “LOL” after a mildly funny post/email that a friend of their wrote, so as to not be a stick in the mud. But it actually made me laugh, many many times, very very loudly. I work from home (mostly) and I’m kinda glad, as the maniacal laughter coming from the kitchen where I’m typing on my laptop would’ve drove any theoretical coworkers in my imaginary vicinity quite homicidal.

But I digress.

Oh, and bonus points for his breakdown of the film Man on Fire, which he found to be a much more gripping portrayal of God’s redemptive power than The Passion of the Christ.

I was about to say that I’m not sure how much I agree with his assessment, given that I’ve seen Man on Fire about four or five times and The Passion of the Christ only once.

But I think the fact that I found the former engrossing enough to watch several times and the latter I watched once, out of a Christian sense of duty, says more than enough.

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Bike Rage, Road Rage… Everybody Lay Off the Caffeine


So it’s May, which only means one thing in my world.

NBA Playoffs!

But I also share this world with other non-NBA fans, many of whom are outdoorsy types. So for them, May is National Bike Month. Which means it’s time for me to resume my annual tradition of Getting Back On My Bike Again, Since The Weather’s Not So Bad Anymore.

And since I’m far from alone in this tradition, and because I live in the bike-friendliest city in the nation, and because I’m constantly downplaying the dangers of urban cycling so that my wife won’t worry about me when I’m out on my bike, I’m especially sensitive to newspaper accounts of collisions between cyclists and motorists.

Seems like this time of year, these kinds of accidents are especially on the rise.

People have different ways of processing these events. Like with many tragic news events, some people just file them away in the recesses of their minds, expending a few tsk-tsks and that’s that. Others coalesce together to form cells of shadowy crusaders, painting bikes white and leaving them as memorials to honor the deceased and raise awareness.

But far too many of us simply get mad.

As this excellent editorial points out, blame has become the standard coping mechanism when it comes to sharing the road. Angry motorists point to rogue cyclists who take daredevil tactics that ignore the rules of traffic. Angry cyclists point to huge SUVs driven by careless and inattentive drivers. Both are part of the problem, yet many passionate advocates on both sides fail to respect the opposing viewpoint.

So when a controversial accident happens in their neck of the woods, it serves to reinforce their already impenetrable convictions, rather than helping to balance the picture a little.

In this way, it’s somewhat like the unfolding saga with Jeremiah Wright. White people see him and fit him nicely into their profile of troublemaker and rabblerousers. Black people see him and see another example of an articulate, prophetic Black voice having to withstand a well-orchestrated character assassination. They’re both right… and they’re both wrong. And they’re both angry. When that anger finds a flashpoint, it doesn’t dissipate — it explodes.

So now we’re living in the aftermath of that explosion, and people on both sides are frustrated, hurting, and looking for real answers. Can we, as responsible adults, have the maturity and decency to assess our behavior? Or will we let our animosities toward others boil over and spill into violence?

Lest you think I’m painting with too broad a brush in comparing bike rage with race riots, click on the picture at the top of this post. It looks almost staged, doesn’t it? As far as I know, it’s not. It was taken by a freelance photographer in Toronto while witnessing an SUV driver pummeling a bike messenger.

In terms of social and political importance, it may not be the next Rodney King saga, but it’s important nonetheless.

So I say enjoy your time out on the road, but do try to keep your prejudice in check while you share the road with your fellow humans. And if it’s obvious that they’re Wrong and you’re Right, then be the bigger person and let it go.

But if you can’t, and you still have some excess steam you need to blow off, do what I do:

Yell at the TV.

‘Cause NBA officiating is usually horrible this time of year.

I’m Jelani Greenidge, and thanks for mixin’ it up with me.

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Educated Blacks Also Fair Game for Satire


Like any good meme, the trend of what certain kinds of people like/dislike is spreading like wildfire.

Thus, I give you: Stuff Educated Black People Like.

This site makes me laugh big time… at myself.

(That is, when I’m not laughing at White people. The latest one to slay me: #88, Outdoor Performance Clothes.)

But seriously, this site may be illuminating to many White folks who know Educated Black People (EBP) because it puts into a context some of the deeper reasons why we tend to enjoy:

  • Neo Soul
  • Baked Chicken
  • Business Cards
  • Poetry Slams
  • Talking About Uneducated Black People

And much, much more.

What’s really interesting to me is examining all the intersections between the two sites. There are a lot of commonalities, actually — Barack Obama, for example. Or how Atlanta is the new Canada.

(Bonus points for whoever designed the masthead image to StuffEducatedBlackPeopleLike, which I’ve included at the top of this post. Besides being identical in style and form to the original and their overt comparison in the “About” section, you’ll notice a small tribute in the form of a picture of some Black folks in a fraternity step show. In the background is some kind of poster ad — for sushi. Classic.)

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A Field Guide to White People



Are you surrounded by White people, at work, school, or in your community? Do you have White people in your family? Perhaps you yourself are, in fact, White.

Have I got something to show you.

In the grand tradition of satirists from The Onion to Lark News, I present to you the funniest blog I have seen in a good long time, Stuff White People Like.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, mostly among White people. I’ve gone to mostly White schools. My wife is White. That doesn’t mean I know what it’s like to be White, but I’ve been hanging around (and being socialized by) White people for most of my 30+ years on this earth. Which is why I love this site. All you White folks who freely watch/read The Boondocks or Chapelle’s Show without apology, this is for you.

Feel free to check yourself against this growing list of things things that White people (okay, mostly young liberal White people) like:

  • #82, Hating Corporations
  • #63, Expensive Sandwiches
  • #8, Barack Obama
  • #38, Arrested Development (the show, AND the hip-hop band!)
  • #80, The Idea of Soccer (as opposed to soccer itself)
  • #53, Dogs
  • #41, Indie Music
  • #75, Threatening to Move to Canada
  • #71, Being the Only White Person Around

et cetera.

By the way, the #1 thing that White people like, according to this site:

Coffee.

I should have known.

WARNING — Stuff White People Like is not for the easily offended, or those with serious irony deficiency. Please consult a person of color before reacting in anger.