PERFORMATIVE BELIEF: Jesus wept, the Bible says!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2020

Recently, so did Kirk Herbstreit:
The most interesting sentence we read this weekend was found in a book review written by Walter Isaacson.

The book in question is called Life Of A Klansman; it was written by Edward Ball. Yesterday, Isaacson reviewed the book in the New York Times Book Review.

At one point, Isaacson directly quotes a rather peculiar statement Ball makes in his book. For whatever reason, the statement doesn't seem to strike Isaacson as peculiar. The passage in question says this:
ISAACSON (9/6/20): Near the end of his book, Ball makes a fascinating digression. It involves a prominent person of color who lived in New Orleans [in the 1870s]. Louis Charles Roudanez was a medical doctor, trained in France and at Dartmouth, who published The New Orleans Tribune, a daily newspaper for the Black community. An homme de couleur libre, Roudanez married a free woman of color. While researching his own family, Ball decided to look for the descendants of the Roudanez family.

He finds one of the physician-publisher’s great-great-grandchildren, named Mark Roudané, living in a leafy subdivision of St. Paul, Minn. “He was raised white, and he appears white,” Ball writes of Roudané. “In middle age he learned that according to the one-drop rule of blackness, he was not white.”
What a strange thing to say! For the record, Ball is discussing something Mark Roudané learned in the year 2006, when he was 55.

What did Mark Roudané learn in 2006? Way up north in St. Paul, Roudané had grown up believing he was "white."

But "in middle age"—more specifically, in the year 2006, when he was 55—Mark Roudané "learned that according to the one-drop rule of blackness, he was not white.”

According to the one-drop rule, Roudané learned that he wasn't "white!" What an amazingly strange thing to write! And what a strange statement to quote!

Presumably, most people have heard of the famous "one-drop rule." As part of our nation's benighted history, the following events occurred:

For starters, our benighted ancestors created a taxonomy in which everyone belonged to a "race." The two main "races" in question were the ones we now call black and white.

The belief that these "races" exist comes to us, live and direct, from "the world the slaveholders made." Several centuries later, we still believe in the taxonomy of that world with all our hearts. In the present day, no one believes in that world more than we liberals do.

According to the world the slaveholders made, everyone belongs to a "race!" In most American instances, that means that a person is either "black" or "white."

As a further part of this benighted history, our ancestors also invented the one-drop rule. If a person has even one drop of "black blood" (African ancestry), the person in question is "black."

Let's continue from there:

According to Edward Ball, Mark Roudané learned the following in 2006. He learned that, according to the one-drop rule, "he was not white.”

In Ball's actual book, he quotes Roudané saying that a DNA test showed that he has or had 5% sub-Saharan African ancestry. We'll guess that means that as much as 95% of his ancestry tracks to Europe, not to Africa, in the relevant time spans.

(Everyone's ancestry tracks to Africa if you go back far enough.)

Mark Roudané has 5% African ancestry. What "race" does that make him?

According to the one-drop rule, that makes him plenty "black!" But if we're speaking in the year 2020, why would anyone be reporting what Roudané "learned" according to the one-drop rule? Unless we're just having a whole lot of fun, that strikes us as extremely odd thing to say.

The one-drop rule is one of the crazy "racial" notions which originated as part of "the world the slaveholders made." The slaveholders insisted that everyone belonged to a "race," and that one drop of African ancestry meant that the individual's "race" was black.

Walter Isaacson strikes us as a good, decent person. In his otherwise excellent biography of Einstein, he wasn't able to make Einstein easy. Of course, even Einstein couldn't do that, so why should we blame poor Isaacson?

It would have been better if Isaacson had simply said that he couldn't make Einstein easy. But Isaacson is almost always found in the saner end of the wading pool. Presumably, he's a good, decent person. We'd be amazed if it turned out that he somehow wasn't.

That said, it struck us as very strange when we saw Isaacson quoting that strange statement by Ball. Except on a performative basis, it also strikes us as very strange to think that Ball ever published that peculiar statement in the first place.

According to the one-drop rule, Roudané isn't white? Crazy discussions of that type arise from adherence to the concepts which come to us, live and direct, from the world the slaveholders made. To wit:

Is Roudané white or black at all? Does anyone actually have a "race?" Or is that belief simply part of the world our benighted ancestors made?

Do people really belong to "race?" Or re we just treated that way?

Granted, everyone is treated that way. But leaving aside the ways people get treated, does anyone really belong to a race? Do these "races" really exist?

Do "races" really exist? At present, our own liberal / progressive tribe seems to love that part of the world the slaveholders made.

We love it more than life itself. We believe that people do belong to a "race," not just that they'll be treated that way!

We believe that people belong to a "race"—and we also seem to believe that your "race" constitutes your "identity." We keep slicing "identity" finer and finer, as derived from various people's gender and race!

At present, our nation is engaged in a great conceptual war concerning the concept of "race." As part of this ongoing war, many people who are defined as "white" are engaged in acts of performative virtue, or so it may sometimes seem.

These many deeds of performative virtue will likely involve many deeds of performative belief. Before a member can act out his virtue, he must demonstrate his belief.

Jesus wept, the Bible says. Over the weekend, so did Kirk Herbstreit!

Over the weekend, Herbstreit wept? Where has this TV star been?

Tomorrow: Where has this mofo been?

37 comments:

  1. "And what a strange statement to quote!"

    Why, dear Bob, it's a perfectly liberal thing to say: only your liberal cult (by and large) still views the world as a mixture of biological 'races': 'black' (sorry: 'Black') and 'white', and who knows what else.

    Outside of you liberal-hitlerian cult, not so much anymore, dear Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss the old Mao, who hid his bigotry better.
      Oh well, at least he hasn't killed more than 180,000 Americans by trying to gaslight a virus, like Trump did.

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    2. Electing an Adderall abuser as President, just because he hates black people, isn't looking like a smart move by Americans.

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  2. Somerby jumps straight from the concept of race (which was created to justify slavery) to liberals love race to performative virtue, with nothing to connect any of this. Just more name-calling, in my opinion.

    Race was important in the South because of race laws and the legacy of slavery, and it continues to be important socially for the same reasons.

    Somerby would do better if he considered the early ideas about genetics arising in Europe as a mechanism for Darwin's ideas of selection and fitness of species. Liberals had nothing to do with that, or with Germany's fascination with race, transplanted to the US in the early 19th century.

    Somerby is being an idiot today.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Early on, races weren't black and white (what about Asian?). They were Italians and Hungarians and Germans and Irish.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why doesn't Somerby summarize the book for readers?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "But leaving aside the ways people get treated,"

    How do you leave this aside when black people get treated differently than white people?

    Somerby acts as if these so-called performative acts are done to seek approval when many white people are trying to avoid mistreating members of historically mistreated races.

    The conservative approach is to declare that racism is over (without changing anything about their behavior) and tell black people to get over it. They think they are behaving in a racially neutral manner when they are actually engaging in ongoing discriminatory behavior. They have no desire to remove the lingering remnants of racially motivated separatist and discriminatory laws and customs.

    Echoing the right, Somerby says the one-drop rule is odd, but if you are going to discriminate against a race, you need to define who is and who is not a member of that race. Further, if you want to prevent intermixing of races, you need to harshly punish even the slightest infraction back in time. Somerby thought it was odd that Elizabeth Warren would claim Cherokee heritage but she qualifies by the one-drop rule which was in effect in the state where she grew up, as recently as the 1960s. Somerby cannot do away with racism by simply declaring the concept of race "odd". It matters to those on both ends of discriminatory behavior.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby has become repugnant.

      Race exists because racism exists.

      Delete
  6. Somerby doesn't mention Kirk Herbstreit, or what he did. Instead, he writes about performative behavior, slyly implying that Herbstreit doesn't feel what he expressed when he, a white man, wept over racism. Thus he doesn't have to call him out or take an action position on whether Herbsteit was genuine. He can just imply that he was not and we all get the message while Somerby evades responsibility.

    Somerby apparently doesn't think it is likely that a white man would (1) weep, over (2) white racism. He may be too far removed from the shock many of us feel when we learn about the atrocities committed by people like us. Or maybe he is just too well defended to be open to learning about man's inhumanity to man (man = both genders). In any case, the fact that Somerby cannot imagine genuine remorse says nothing good about himself. We already know that Somerby holds a jaundiced view of humanity. Perhaps it extends from his own inability to find his better nature, his own lack of caring for wrongs done to others.

    If so, this is another similarity between Somerby and Trump. It may also be why he is feeling an increasing affinity for those on the wrong side of the aisle, the people who value property over human beings, want only to get rich and don't care who suffers as they climb that ladder. Today's Republicans tend to be ugly people inside.

    These are not the reactions of a liberal. Somerby's inner life is reflected on the right -- he should cut the cord and join them over there. He will be relieved when he no longer has to fake the emotions felt by people as they weep and engage in acts that are not performative but genuine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @5:11 wrote, "...the atrocities committed by people like us."

      This phrase illustrates Somerby's complaint that people belong to a "race"—and we also seem to believe that your "race" constitutes your "identity."

      Delete
    2. race is part of identity, but not the whole thing

      race is based on skin color because it is observable

      the most basic categorization occurs when like things are grouped with each other based on appearance

      this is part of human thinking

      for Somerby to determine that it is wrong to be a human being is perverse and futile since we can be nothing other than what we all are

      Delete
    3. Race is a cultural construct. It's not based on skin color.

      Delete
  7. Racism is what informs race, and plays a large role in dictating identity.

    Being a slave owner is an identity, white people were responsible for slavery in America.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Race is Fake Anthropology.

    Having said that, Leftists have created a movement around skin color and I and everyone I know hates BLM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Winning the hearts and minds of the country, one performative moment at a time.

      https://twitter.com/drrollergator/status/1302741208570236935?s=21

      Delete
    2. Fortunately, Republican voters aren't at all racists, and can't be swayed either way by BLM.

      Due to Trump's cabinet appointments of the swampiest of the swamp, there's a chance Trump won't get a vote this time.

      Delete
  9. Yes, only ditto-heads sit in restaurant courtyards and regular people are more concerned about presidential cabinets than being threatened on the street.

    You are an Anonymouse.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newsweek.com/were-shutting-party-down-rochester-protesters-take-over-restaurants-third-night-protests-1529872%3famp=1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey C-wordia.

      How the fuck do you know what regular people are concerned with?

      Delete
    2. I look down from Mt. Olympus occasionally.

      Delete
    3. Trump voters were concerned about preserving racial hierarchies, and never gave a shit about draining swamps.
      They like his work antagonizing people who aren't them.

      Delete
    4. They drained the swamp by drinking it.

      Delete
    5. I watched the swamp boy fuck my wife.

      Delete
    6. The "religion" of evangelicals is bigotry.

      Delete
    7. Say what you will about Trump voters, but you can't call them "bigots"...if you work in the media.

      Delete
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  12. Describing the Trump boat parade:

    "“There was so much wake from the boats that it actually lifted my dock up three or four feet, and the waves came underneath my floating dock,” he said. “The waves overwhelmed the boat.”

    The neighbor says he’s never seen so much water traffic in his backyard. Both property owners say they have no problem with Trump supporters showing out for their candidate. Their issue is with the disregard for boating laws and etiquette.

    “It’s not anything political,” Smith said. “Boaters know the laws and the rules, and I don’t understand why they wouldn’t follow them and help their fellow boater.”

    --------------

    This is a phenomenon that I have seen everywhere -- Trump supporters pay no attention to rules or civility. They break rules with gleeful impunity, inconveniencing and harming others without concern. I do not understand why Trump voters are like this.

    I used to read an internet NextDoor community newsgroups but gave it up because every few days it would be flooded by Trump supporters posting about a recall petition to remove CA governor Newsom. The community group was supposed to keep its posts non-political, with political discussion kept to a special subgroup. Trump supporters ignored that rule and flooded the main group with its messages, despite being told by moderators to cut it out. I quit the group because of them.

    Democrats don't behave like that anywhere. This all happened before the current refusal by conservatives to wear masks, before covid. It reminds me of Somerby's lack of concern for his neighbor about his tree's leaves. This isn't a matter of political dogma but of getting along with neighbors. What is it about their political views that dictates this kind of attitude and behavior? They are bad neighbors and they are in-your-face proud of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rittenhouse is hot af.

      Delete
    2. He looks and acts like an absolute naïf.

      His mama and her friends ought to be interviewed and investigated “af”.

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