July 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm (Uncategorized)

bring it to the yard

The language of “An Open Letter” was chosen more carefully than many of you may realize. Deliberately provocative comments were stated to reflect what people of color, who may be angry over a situation, may say. People of color in local political scenes who raise criticisms of racism experience the same white hatred of which I was the target. though they are mostly unknown or dismissed.

Picking fierce language, in my experience, always demonstrates the contradictions in radical movements. A few whites, in this case, will grasp the spirit of the concerns. The rest show their true colors as reactionaries. I wanted “An Open Letter” to educate people of color about tactics whites use to defend racism, white supremacy and their society when white emotions are at their most honest. As the old maxim goes, you find what people are made of in a crisis.

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Not everyone who disagrees is a reactionary. Although such never happened this time around, I have had discussions with those who were able to articulate a political disagreement. Most respondents to “An Open Letter” weren’t nearly as smart. The reactionaries, as I predicted in the original letter, used the language, examples and anecdotes as license to mimic stuff most of us would never dream coming out of a conservative Republican’s mouth, let alone a radical or progressive. Then the behavior was justified by saying the language of “An Open Letter” was coarse or without nuance or unconstructive. They did not understand the deliberate use of such language as a test of sorts.

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there’s a summary effect that happens to people of color in political movements. When a person of color raises a concern, even if it sounds unconstructive or emotional, it’s generally done because that person cares about a problem and believe in a political movement, or else they’d be in Toastmasters. White people, who some claim also care, show that care by minimizing the concern through deflection, mocking and other forms of intimidation. A person of color who had the courage to say something becomes frustrated with the lack of concern and willingness to defend a way of life rather than act against it, and that consternation is used as another weapon against him/her. Pretty soon, the original speaker is marginalized and disempowered — effectively politically killed off and disappeared.

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