Robin DiAngelo, queen of the whites!

SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 2020

Recalling The Family of Man:
Speaking quite frankly, it happens.

Revolutionary cadres ring in the new ideas, the new terms and the new rules. Along the way, they know they must trample the olds.

Once again, here is Andrew Sullivan's description of the way it was done during the age of the Beatles:
SULLIVAN (6/26/20): The Red Guards did what they did—to their friends, and parents, and teachers—in the spirit of the Communist regime itself. They murdered and tortured, and subjected opponents to public humiliations—accompanied by the gleeful ransacking of religious and cultural sites. In their attack on the Temple of Confucius, almost 7,000 priceless artifacts were destroyed. By the end of the revolution, almost two-thirds of Beijing’s historical sites had been destroyed in a frenzy of destruction against “the four olds: old customs, old habits, old culture, and old ideas.”
"The four olds!" However comical the name may sound, the four olds was an actual thing.

Your grandfather's Oldsmobile wasn't involved. In this passage, the leading authority on the four olds explains when the olds first appeared:
The term "Four Olds" first appeared on June 1, 1966, in Chen Boda's People's Daily editorial, "Sweep Away All Monsters and Demons", where the Old Things were described as anti-proletarian, "fostered by the exploiting classes, [and to] have poisoned the minds of the people for thousands of years". However, which customs, cultures, habits, and ideas specifically constituted the "Four Olds" were never clearly defined.
The four olds were designed to sweep the monsters away. Meanwhile, which customs and habits were the four olds? New decisions might be reached day by day!

At any rate, when John Lennon wrote Revolution, he was saying that he didn't want any part of this new approach, not even in its British and American forms. Some will suggest that this uppity stance was easy for him to adopt.

No one is being murdered and tortured during our current revolutionary days. As with many revolutions, the current revolution has excellent goals, however imperfect or unwise its procedures and immediate points of focus may sometimes seem.

That said, the olds are again being swept away, and are being replaced by the news. We have new language, the better to mark ourselves by. We have new gurus, new rules.

At present, one of the hottest new gurus is best-selling author Robin DiAngelo, the anti-racism corporate workshop leader turned anti-racism writer.

DiAngelo's current best-selling book is extremely hot. This leads us to wonder if the Washington Post's Carlos Lozada is really permitted to say this:
LOZADA (6/21/20): “Race relations are profoundly complex,” Robin DiAngelo writes in “White Fragility,” a book that, two years after a best-selling debut, is having a new burst of popularity and urgency. In the midst of a nationwide debate on institutional racism and police violence, Americans are binge-reading (or at least bulk-buying) recent texts on race to help them grapple with that complexity...DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”—the No. 1 bestseller on the New York Times nonfiction list this week, and The Post’s No. 4—is officially now part of a new canon.

Except it doesn’t deserve that distinction.
Even as it introduces a memorable concept, “White Fragility” presents oversimplified arguments that are self-fulfilling, even self-serving. The book flattens people of any ancestry into two-dimensional beings fitting predetermined narratives. And reading DiAngelo offers little insight into how a national reckoning such as the one we’re experiencing today could have come about.
In last Sunday's Outlook section, Lozada smashes DiAngeo's book. We mention this because we thought Lozada's review operated on a level that has rarely seen in one of the current olds—in our old upper-end journalism.

We haven't read DiAngelo's book. We did watch the recent rebroadcast of her 2018 interview with Michelle Martin for the PBS show, Amanpour & Co.

We may have seen the original broadcast. We've been amazed by DiAngelo before.

We haven't read DiAngelo's book, but we've seen DiAngelo on TV, and we've read Lozada's review. We thought this passage was astutely reasoned, in a way one rarely sees among the ranks of the current olds:
LOZADA: White fragility is the sort of powerful notion that, once articulated, becomes easily recognizable and widely applicable. (DiAngelo, for instance, uses it to explain Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.) But stare at it a little longer, and one realizes how slippery it is, too. As defined by DiAngelo, white fragility is irrefutable; any alternative perspective or counterargument is defeated by the concept itself. Either white people admit their inherent and unending racism and vow to work on their white fragility, in which case DiAngelo was correct in her assessment, or they resist such categorizations or question the interpretation of a particular incident, in which case they are only proving her point.

Any dissent from “White Fragility” is itself white fragility. From such circular logic do thought leaders and bestsellers arise.
DiAngelo's basic premise goes like this:

Every "white" person—every "white" person except DiAngelo herself—is reluctant to acknowledge or admit to his or her racism. (Below, we'll explain the scare quotes.) As with the Red Guard and in Salem Village, so too here:

This disinclination to confess is seen as proof of the crime. This disinclination to confess is what DiAngelo means by "fragility."

In her days as a corporate workshop leader, DiAngelo was forced to deal with this universal, pathetic state of denial. Her condescending attitude towards all the olds with whom she dealt is rarely hard to spot in her televised interviews.

Also rare is the deftness of Lozada's logic. In the passage we've posted, he defines the "Heads I'm right, tails you're wrong" essence of DiAngelo's new superiority:

If the white person confesses her guilt, that shows that she's guilty of racism. If she refuses to confess, that shows the same darn thing!

This, of course, has always been a part of revolutionary logic. If you read Lozada's review in full, you'll be reading an unusually deft presentation, upper-end press corps-wide

As noted, we'd watched DiAngelo on TV not long before reading Lozada's review. On June 12, the PBS program rebroadcast a 17-minute interview which it originally aired, in edited form, in September 2018.

We're sure that DiAngelo is a thoroughly good, decent person. That said, what self-assured revolutionaries we mortals (may occasionally) be!

To an astounding degree, DiAngelo seems to be lacking the gene which provides the capacity for self-doubt. In the exchange with Martin shown below, we see the new certainty joined to elements of the new argot in service to the new ideas.

You'll also see that DiAngelo totally fails to answer the question she's asked. Asked to give an example of her own fragility, she describes her own greatness instead.

We offer the exchange at some length because it's so instructive. To watch the fuller exchange, click here, move ahead to the 7:30 mark. This is the way the exchange was aired during the original broadcast:
MARTIN (9/21/18): You speak very frankly in the book about how you’ve stepped in it yourself, if I can use that phrase. Can you give an example of where you experienced your own white fragility?

DIANGELO: So I’m in a room with three black women, two of which I’m very close to and one I don’t know at all. And she gives us a survey to fill out, and it’s tedious to me, it seems kind of template. It doesn’t capture the nuance of what we do.

So I push it aside and I say, “Let me explain. We go out into these different offices and we do these anti-racism trainings. In fact, Debra here was asked not to come back when she went to such-and-such office. I guess her hair scared the white people.” She has long locked braids.

So I want you to notice what I’m doing. Not only am I making a joke about a black woman’s hair, which is a sensitive issue and I do know better, but I’m positioning myself as the cool white person, and they’re all the clueless white people. And I wish I could tell you that I recognized I was doing that. I didn’t.

Meeting’s over. A couple of days later, the assistant, Marsha, comes to me and says, “Angela was really offended by that joke you made about black women’s hair.” And I immediately, “Oh God, thank you.” And I called Angela and I said, "Would you be willing to grant me the opportunity to repair the racism that I perpetrated towards you in the meeting last week?"

She said, “Yes.” We sat down. We talked about it. And she said, “I don’t know you. I have no relationship with you. I have no trust with you. And I do not want to be joking about black women’s hair in a professional work meeting with a white woman I don’t know.”

I hear you. I apologize. Then I asked, is there anything I missed? And she said, “Yes. That survey you so glibly shoved aside, I wrote that survey. And I have spent my life justifying my intelligence to white people.”

Owned that, apologized.
Asked, is there anything else that needs to be said or heard that we might move forward? And she said, “Yeah. If we’re going to work together, I’m sure you’re going to run your racism at me again. And so the next time you do, would you like your feedback publicly or privately?”

MARTIN: Interesting.

(LAUGHTER)

DIANGELO: I love her for that! I said, "Publicly, in my case, please. It’s really important that other white people see that I’m not free of this but it gives me an opportunity to model non-defensiveness."

And: “Are we good?” “We’re good.” And we moved on. And one of the things she said to me was: “This kind of stuff happens to us all the time. What has never happened to me before is what you’re doing right now, this repair. And I appreciate it.”
In that exchange, DiAngelo is asked to cite an instance in which she herself displayed "white fragility." In her response, she describes an incident in which she heroically displayed the opposite of "white fragility."

When we read Lozada's review, we learned that DiAngelo's memorized anecdote was drawn straight out of her book. At any rate, here's what happened in the incident she described to Martin:

In a meeting with three black colleagues, DiAngelo adopted a know-it-all attitude about a survey one of her colleagues had designed. Along the way, she threw in a joke which offended one of the women on a racial basis.

When DiAngelo was told that she had offended this woman, she displayed no "white fragility" at all. Instead, she quickly confessed her racism to the offended party.

In the ensuing conversations, she and the offended colleague engage in some truly remarkable forms of the new language. By the time these conversations are done, DiAngelo is being told that she has displayed the new behavior in a way no other white person has ever done!

At the start of her anecdote, DiAngelo chides herself for having "position[ed] myself as the cool white person" as opposed to "all the clueless white people." By the end of the anecdote, she's positioning herself the same way!

She's the newest "white" person ever! Along the way, she has claimed that somewhere in this universe, two different people have actually produced such unlikely locutions as these:
DIANGELO: Would you be willing to grant me the opportunity to repair the racism that I perpetrated towards you in the meeting last week?

[...]

OFFENDED COLLEAGUE: If we’re going to work together, I’m sure you’re going to run your racism at me again. And so the next time you do, would you like your feedback publicly or privately?
Back in Maotime, the Red Guard invented some truly remarkable newspeak. Even they would have to marvel at the new locutions described in that passage.

Han anyone ever said such things? Only the CIA knows!

Meanwhile, we humans! Some of us may sometimes have an amazing lack of self-awareness. So it seems to be with DiAngelo, self-certified queen of the whites.

Every time we read or watch DiAngelo, we're struck by the controlling narrative in which she is the most morally advanced "white" person in all human history. She is always able to see how pathetic the other whites are. As she was told by her offended colleague, she alone, among the whites, possesses the degree of insight and rectitude she put on display in that anecdote.

None of this means that Robin D'Angelo is some sort of bad person. We would suggest that she seems to possesses almost no self-awareness. This will often be the case with those elect who are charged with inventing the newthink.

In closing, a point concerning those scare quotes. It takes us back to a once famous book, The Family of Man [sic].

The Family of Man is a book of photographs assembled by Edward Steichen. Included is a poetic commentary by Carl Sandburg. Sandburg's commentary includes such matter as this:
There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men. There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women. There is only one child in the world and the child's name is All Children.

[...]

The first cry of a baby in Chicago, or Zamboango, in Amsterdam or Rangoon, has the same pitch and key, each saying, "I am! I have come through! I belong! I am a member of the Family." Many the babies and grownup here from photographs made in sixty-eight nations round our planet Earth. You travel and see what the camera saw. The wonder of human mind, heart wit and instinct is here. You might catch yourself saying, "I'm not a stranger here."
The book has never been out of print since it appeared in the 1950s. In the 1960s, it was very hot, even as the four olds were being smashed and destroyed.

This book was designed to promote a certain understanding of "race." It was the dominant liberal understanding of "race" in that street-fighting era.

According to this dominant thinking, there was only one race, the human race. Babies were the very same babies in Chicago and in Rangoon.

According to this revolutionary thinking, the human race should be understood as a family. The concept that people belong to different "races" was an example of oldthink. It was understood to be an unfortunate product of "the world the slaveholders made."

That was conventional liberal/progressive thinking back then. On balance, it's now a discarded artifact of counter-revolutionary oldthink.

Today, our tribe is deeply invested the idea that everyone actually does belong to some particular race. Not that various people will be treated as if they belong to a race, but that it's actually so.

Everybody belongs to a race. Your identity actually is your race. We will remind you of this every day. Everything turns on your "race."

So goes one part of our modern tribe's tribal newthink. For ourselves, we think the oldview was much more humane, but then too was also more accurate.

54 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has absolutely nothing to do with Red Guards, dear Bob.

      This is a typical Nazi bullshit, the only superficial difference being that the "oppressed race" that must rise up and liberate itself is not the non-existing "Aryans" but the non-existing "blacks and browns".

      Delete
    2. your going off the deep end

      Delete
    3. "'you're going off the deep end.' On the other hand, ...."

      Fixed that for you.

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  2. 'Today, our tribe is deeply invested the idea that everyone actually does belong to some particular race.'


    True, Somerby's tribe of Trumptards is deeply invested in the idea of White Supermacy. The same folks whom TDH has defended gallantly -- i.e. when he's not claiming he's concerned about education for AA kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby's post-racism world view is a joke.

      For more interesting and cogent media criticism, enjoy:

      How "Polarization" Discourse Flattens Power Dynamics and Says Nothing

      Delete
  3. Thanks Centrist. When I click on the comments here, I am always hoping to see something totally moronic, and since there were only 2 comments I was a little worried I'd be disappointed. But never fear!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, since you read the blog entry, you must be used to moronic stuff, right ?

    ReplyDelete
  5. My writer cousin L is slightly more than half white. She is fair enough to be taken as white. Nevertheless, she chooses to consider herself black.

    We're in a world where a white person chooses to pass as black!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There have always been white people who have chosen to pass as black. Their main motive has been to live with and marry a black person who they couldn't be with otherwise. Some musicians have pretended to be black.

      Delete
    2. An obscure relative (true or false?) whose lifestyle choice is proof of David's conclusion that African Americans should be thankful to the likes of David for making their world a better place.

      Delete
    3. @1:53 - L is unmarried. I suspect that she's so brilliant, charming and talented that she couldn't find a man to match her.

      @2:07 L's choice illustrates that discrimination against blacks is no longer a big problem. (At least not in the New York City area where she lives.) Furthermore there's quite a bit of discrimination in favor of blacks. E.g., L often is chosen by the New York Times to review a book a black author.

      Delete
    4. Biracial kids used to get pressured in college (by black peers) to choose their black heritage, but they are increasingly choosing to be seen as "biracial" instead of picking white or black.

      Delete
    5. Not only does "L" not exist - David is the eternal phony - but "discrimination against blacks" continues to be a big problem. One could go on non stop for days repeating anecdotes of discrimination, but the data also supports the same (unless you think it is genetic).

      Delete
    6. "she's so brilliant, charming and talented that she couldn't find a man to match her."

      This is ridiculous and springs from the idea that a woman must always be married to someone smarter than herself, which is sexist. Or maybe you mean she isn't beautiful enough to attract someone wealthy? Or maybe you are saying that there aren't any smart black men? That would be racist. Maybe you are saying that she is gay but hasn't come out to her family yet?

      Being brilliant, charming and talented has never been an obstacle to marriage, you jerk. Maybe you think you are being gallant, but young people are generally only getting married when they want to have kids. Maybe Somerby should write an essay about the good old days when the majority of people got married and women like Stormy were called whores instead of businesswomen (bet she's brilliant and talented too).

      Delete
    7. @2:57 - it illustrates your mendacity or stupidity - or both - that one anecdotal circumstance supports your conclusion en toto in the absence of any other support evidence.

      Then you double down by describing another anecdotal circumstance - assuming it's even true - in support of the preposterous conclusion that non-African Americans are discriminated against because African Americans are given preferential treatment.

      Speaking of preferential treatment, what do you think the percentage of African-American businesses have benefited overall via the $255 billion CARES slush fund - aka rescue fund? What do you thing the percentage of white-owned businesses have benefited overall?

      Of course, we have no real way of knowing since the band of grifters and thieves currently occupying the White House - aka David's preferred presidential administration - will provide no actual accounting for the funds. That's probably fine with a bigoted rube like you that they pick your pocket and then tell you to eff off.

      Delete
    8. @4:41 My cousin L attracted lots of men. The problem was that the men didn't sufficiently attract her.

      Her family is very accepting. So is the feminist and literary world she is a part of. If she were gay, she would have had no problem coming out.

      Delete
    9. If David in Cal's cousin L wanted to fly by flapping her arms, she would have no problem taking off. That's because her family is very accepting...

      ... of fiction.

      Delete
    10. "The problem was that the men didn't sufficiently attract her."

      This has nothing to do with being brilliant, talented or charming. There are other names for it, encompassed by the LGBTQ community (including asexuality). Her family may be accepting, but David is clearly not, since he so vehemently denies that there is an explanation for her lack of interest in men. It has to be because she is so smart!

      Delete
    11. @2:57 - I notice you've completely ignored my comment at 7:56. No surprise. Instead, you prattle on about the mythical uber-progressive "cousin".

      Here's another example of how stupid your pro-African American preference pronouncement really is:

      https://apnews.com/f2b188197857d392de0395a5e367b1d0

      Delete
    12. @10:56 - My cousin is real. Her last name is the same as mine. I don't want to reveal my identity.

      the preposterous conclusion that non-African Americans are discriminated against because African Americans are given preferential treatment.

      Did you follow the lawsuit brought against Harvard by Asian students? The average black student was accepted with SAT scores many hundreds of points below whites and even farther below Asians (on average.) Why do you think my comment was "preposterous"? Explain why you think it was wrong, and I will respond.

      I know nothing about CARES.

      Delete
    13. @9:23 - you are wrong in assuming that my cousin lacks interest in men. She just never found one she wanted to marry.

      Delete
    14. David, what do you think that means? You are being dense about this.

      Delete
    15. "Being brilliant, charming and talented has never been an obstacle to marriage, you jerk."

      Ha! David's right. I know lots of people who are alone because they can't find someone of THEIR level.

      Delete
    16. You keep telling yourself that.

      Delete
  6. Somerby thinks a review smashes a book that he hasn't read.

    And he thinks we are in the midst of a revolution, even though nothing much has changed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The epicenter of cluelessness: Andrew Sullivan

    ReplyDelete
  8. today's liberals didn't invent racism, just because they are talking about how to combat it

    ReplyDelete
  9. A bunch of progressives won some primaries and Bob is now PISSED

    You're losin it Bro

    ReplyDelete
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  11. "Everybody belongs to a race. Your identity actually is your race. We will remind you of this every day. Everything turns on your "race."

    The concept of race was invented during colonialism to justify enslaving and mistreating indigenous people. Indigenous people from Africa were transported to America in order to provide cheap labor to colonize and build our society. Because of the racial thinking used to justify this action, black people are still being treated as inferior and less important people in a society built around inequalities. It is time to fix those inequalities, but to do so we need to acknowledge and change them. Somerby objects to that last step, preferring that we pretend this racialization doesn't exist, that we are all one big family of man. Forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones. That would be fine if there were not lingering effects of racial mistreatment affecting people of color, but there are such effects.

    Somerby's approach benefits white people at the continuing expense of people of color. That is why we cannot adopt it. Somerby is well aware of our history but he thinks it is fair for himself and other white people to evade paying the price for generations of unfair advantage. This all seems like a good idea to Somerby because he is white and has been the beneficiary of preferential treatment for so long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The following passage from Somerby's blog post anticipates your point and addresses it (without buying into it):

      "This book was designed to promote a certain understanding of "race." It was the dominant liberal understanding of "race" in that street-fighting era.

      According to this dominant thinking, there was only one race, the human race. Babies were the very same babies in Chicago and in Rangoon.

      According to this revolutionary thinking, the human race should be understood as a family. The concept that people belong to different "races" was an example of oldthink. It was understood to be an unfortunate product of "the world the slaveholders made."

      That was conventional liberal/progressive thinking back then. On balance, it's now a discarded artifact of counter-revolutionary oldthink.

      Today, our tribe is deeply invested the idea that everyone actually does belong to some particular race. Not that various people will be treated as if they belong to a race, but that it's actually so.

      Everybody belongs to a race. Your identity actually is your race. We will remind you of this every day. Everything turns on your "race."

      So goes one part of our modern tribe's tribal newthink. For ourselves, we think the oldview was much more humane, but then too was also more accurate."

      If you had read that passage and absorbed it, then you might advance the discussion in a constructive way by responding to it. Somerby has explicitly acknowledged the shift in thinking about races that you cite, but he prefers the 1950s-style "one race" liberal humanism -- a point with which you differ. Why not wrestle with implication of Somerby's contention that the current thinking that contains buried within it a peculiar dependency upon the "divide and conquer" tactics of the colonialism you denounce -- only now instead of the colonial whites benefiting from "divide and conquer," it seems that non-whites can use the same divisions to turn the tables? Undoubtedly you have grounds to disagree, but the debate can be better served by accurately defining the terms of Somerby's thinking. Instead the tendency in many of the comments -- not necessarily yours -- here is to brush Somerby aside as a bigot beneath contempt. Folks are entitled to their opinion, but off-hand dismissal and turning a blind eye to important points too often stop debate dead. For some folks here -- again, not necessarily you -- that may be the point.

      Do you see my point? If not, so be it.

      Delete
    2. I'll smash your face.

      Delete
    3. @anon 10:26
      Somerby takes a single book, based on a photographic exhibition, and claims that it represents “the dominant liberal understanding of "race" in that street-fighting era.”

      There is no evidence for this assertion. There was plenty of criticism of the exhibition at the time. You can research that.

      I was struck by this passage in the Wikipedia entry:

      “Absent also from the book, and removed by week eleven of the initial MoMA exhibition, was the distressing photograph of the aftermath of a lynching, of a dead young African American man, tied to a tree with his bound arms tautly tethered with a rope that stretches out of frame.”

      That seems to be a bit of whitewashing going on, wouldn’t you say? Wouldn’t want to make the white, liberal MoMA visitors uncomfortable, eh?

      Delete
    4. @10:26
      Also, even if one agrees with Somerby, that “The Family of Man” represents the dominant liberal view of race at the time, does that mean that that view was necessarily the correct one?

      Given that the lynching photo was removed, does this not point to a criticism that MLK made about white liberal “moderates?”

      If you read MLK’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, he decries the cowardice of the white moderate, who privately “supports” civil rights, only to remain publicly silent in the face of racism and bigotry. MLK said that at least the racists were honest about their beliefs.

      In my opinion, Somerby is not equipped to carry on an honest discussion about race, racism, or liberal beliefs, either then or now.

      Delete
    5. MH,

      I get your point. There is more than a tinge of (perhaps unhelpful) nostalgia to Somerby's hearkening back to The Family of Man. It's arguable that the post-world war liberal humanist "consensus," preoccupied as it was with providing balm for a disordered world, in which not just lynchings but the holocaust loomed large, has papered over divisions as much as it has offered (oh, dreaded term) incremental change. Having said all that, it seems, based on your observation re the removal of the South African lynching photo, that MOMA represented the consensus-at-all-costs approach more than The Family of Man did, since the photo was in the exhibit until the museum took it down.

      You may be so impatient with Somerby at this point that you see no other option but to reject him as "not equipped to carry on an honest discussion." But isn't his discussion of these matters his "honest" opinion and the result of his experience, however retrograde his suggestions may strike you. I still wonder, however, whether anyone -- or you -- can address the point it seems to me he's making, that the current movement to address racism contains elements of "groupthink," that it involves denunciation (division: us vs. them) as opposed to persuasion, whereas the "oldthink," however inadequate to the task of eradicating racism, did offer hope of achieving middle ground. Exclude the middle, one is left with extremes. Can those extremes go too far, Somerby asks. I expect you may say, no, the crisis requires a clarity that seems extreme to those who resist it (bigots, et al). Perhaps -- though there's a whiff of Goldwaterism there: "extremism in the pursuit of [eliminating racism] is no vice."

      Anyway -- thanks for the constructive discussion.

      Delete
    6. I find Somerby’s buying into the “Family of Man” view to be naive, at best.

      It’s all well and good to get people to spend a couple of minutes looking into the faces of unfortunate people staring out at them from photographs, or to buy a book that warms the cockles of their heart by affirming that “we’re all one family after all.” It’s quite another thing to translate that into political action that actually helps those in need.

      And the ones in need, blacks (for example), suffered a completely different experience than whites. Even the poor whites weren’t being lynched or denied the vote. You have to deal specifically with the problems of a specific group. Rural electrification (like the TVA) benefited everyone, black and white, but it didn’t solve the problem of lynchings and black disenfranchisement.

      And the reason I think Somerby isn’t able to carry on an honest discussion isn’t that he isn’t honest about his own beliefs. It is that he is unwilling to convey the nuances or the truth of liberal views, either historically, or now. He misrepresents them, in other words.

      Delete
    7. The last thing I will say is that the current rise of white supremacy that is deliberately being stoked by Trump has to be opposed. Talking about a “Family of Man” is nice, (and that is a nice goal, by the way), but how else do you oppose white supremacy, other than by standing up specifically for black people?

      I get the sense that Somerby wants liberals to call racists “stupid” instead of “racist.” But racists are motivated by racism, a specific form of stupidity founded on racial hate. Why should that word be avoided if it is apt?

      Delete
    8. You libs really should all move to Africa. Liberia, or some such. And create a Liberal Paradise there, in the blessed absence of WHITE SUPREMACY.

      And let normal people in the US and Europe conduct their affairs and live their lives in peace.

      Delete
    9. @12:24

      The photo removed was of:

      "Robert McDaniels, lynched April 13, 1937, in Duck Hill, Mississippi"

      NOT in South Africa as you stated.

      Delete
    10. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    11. I agree with MH about the prevailing consensus among liberals and progressives in the 1960s. Family of Man was released in 1955. That was the same year as the Montgomery bus boycott, years before the Freedom Riders (1961) and before MLK's most widely heard speeches.

      I was in college in 1966-70 and the prevailing consensus was to support the black power movement and civil rights efforts, not to encourage everyone to join any family of man. Segregation was still a thing. Those white people who attended civil rights meetings were asked to participate in sensitivity training that explored the racial differences between white and black experience, and there was a lot of concern about white people joining black groups because of FBI infiltrators. Family of Man was seen as part of white paternalism, not a solution to racial inequities. My parents had it on their coffee table and it was not seen as a solution to anyone's problems but a way of ignoring civil rights goals.

      When someone who is unsympathetic toward civil rights views a book such as The Family of Man, they don't recognize the similarities among people worldwide. Instead, they feel superior about the photos of shithole countries and they place photos of lynchings at an emotional distance, such as in South Africa, preferring to believe that the US is better now.

      Meanwhile, anthropologist David Brown, wrote a book called Human Universals that catalogs what he suggests are the human behaviors found across cultures worldwide. It includes things like music, story-telling (narrative), use of money or some form of barter, smiling, and notably, the tendency to evaluate appearance (see also Nancy Etcoff's book, Survival of the Prettiest).

      https://condor.depaul.edu/mfiddler/hyphen/humunivers.htm

      Many of the things Somerby decries are on this list of human universals, suggesting they may be closely linked to what it means to be part of the family of man. However, a human universal doesn't have to be part of condoned human behavior (violence is universal, for example) and it is possible to create a culture that controls innate tendencies. I think that is what anti-racism efforts are trying to achieve.

      Delete
    12. "Even the poor whites weren’t being lynched"

      Jeez. Is this the new liberal 'truthness', validated by your gut feeling?

      Delete
    13. Even the poor whites weren’t being lynched or denied the vote.

      This isn't true on either account. The Tuskegee Institute's data on lynching shows that 27% of victims were white, and the poll tax was designed to keep poor white voters off the rolls, given that black voters were disqualified by their skin color from the getgo.

      What is true is that lynching was disproportionately used in the south to keep a community in terror.

      And the reason I think Somerby isn’t able to carry on an honest discussion isn’t that he isn’t honest about his own beliefs. It is that he is unwilling to convey the nuances or the truth of liberal views, either historically, or now.

      Or he might simply be wrong. Happens to all of us, including you. See above.

      Delete
  12. '
    And the reason I think Somerby isn’t able to carry on an honest discussion isn’t that he isn’t honest about his own beliefs.'

    Of course not. Somerby is a lying Trumptard, after all.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great piece, great review.

    ReplyDelete
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