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Haddayr Copley-Woods [userpic]

Skip to my Lou

October 24th, 2005 (12:36 pm)

In first grade, my music teacher was Mr. Clayton.

A Martin Luthern King antisegregationist Black man, he taught us not only to clap on the off-beat (to this day I will sit in an all-white crowd and clap against them), but he also taught us to change the words to "Skip to my Lou:"

Lost my partner, what'll I do . . .
I'll get another one just-as-good-as you

Because no one, he said, is better than anyone else.

I've got news for you, Mr. Clayton. You are better than all of these assholes put together.

*later edit: it was this story that got me riled.
You'd think a Rizoli (that don't sound like Cherokee to me, buddy) would know that the origin of the epithet "wop" is "With Out Papers."


Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: November 4th, 2005 08:39 am (UTC)

Okay, Mark, now you're just making stuff up. I just re-read this thread to be sure I didn't say what you're saying I said. My reference to clogging and banjo playing was a toss-off witticism. You then pointed out that racism and xenophobia -are- traditional. I agreed with you, but said I still think they're assholes, then you tried to tell me that racism is _more_ traditional than banjo playing and clogging. You're the one who started with the "more" stuff. Don't put words in my mouth. That's annoying.

Whether or not my relatives were racist in 1642 (that's when we got here) has nothing to do with this discussion. They were white, so I'm assuming they were. But what's your point? I never said bigots were "untraditional." You made that up.

I do not think the traditions of racism and xenophobia are worth defending. I don't think you're saying this is an indifensible position; I think you're just trying to nitpick and fight with me for some reason. Knock it off.

Posted by: balgar (balgar)
Posted at: November 6th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC)

My understanding of (part of) your argument way upthread is that these anti-immigrant types are to ridiculed because they do not represent or understand American culture:

sallytuppence: Yargh!!! And what the hell is 'traditional American culture'?

haddayr: You know: banjos, clogging, union organizing, that sort of thing. I'm sure all those folks know ALL about traditional American culture.

And later:

balgar: Exactly! America for American racists! My point is that you don't fight guys like this by referring to American tradition. People like that are a lot more traditional in America than people like you. The roots of American bigotry are as deep as any other growth. I suppose you could argue that there are competing American traditions.

haddayr: Oh, no you don't, brutha. I'm willing to concede racism is _as_ American as clogging, but not _more._ People like that are a lot more traditional in America than people like me? Honey, my family has been here since at least 100 years before the Revolution. I'm not handing my traditionalism over to a bunch of hoohahs. I AM America, whether they like it or not.

First of all, I did not understand the initial comment about clogging as being purely a witticism. I assume you chose those three things for a reason. Of course, union organizing in particular is much less new than racism -- way, way, way less new.

The fact is that when racist nutballs like this talk about defending an American tradition, they are absolutely right. If you want to talk about how disgusting and backward they are, you can't do it from the perspective of tradition, because they are as traditional as whatever positive threads there are in American tradition.

The reason your ancestors' racism is relevant is that you proposed that racist yahoos are not more traditional than you because your family has been in the country so long. I am saying, well, since your family was probably racist in 1642, doesn't that make your family, historically, part of the tradition that these goofballs want to uphold?

In fact, reference to tradition does neither side any good in the debate over immigration. Racism and xenophobia are longstanding American traditions; that does not make them wrong or right. There are other traditional American practices that are more positive. Your side can't argue that the yahoos are unamerican, because they are completely American. If you want to oppose these clowns, tradition can have nothing to do with it.

What I object to is the idea that somehow American tradition speaks against people like this. American tradition does no such thing. Posing a counter-tradition does not make them any less traditional. They are assholes, but not because they don't understand American tradition. American tradition would seem to dictate that only wealthy white men can participate fully in American society. Opposition to this idea is very new and ran, still runs, completely counter to American tradition.

My position is that the problem lies ultimately with the privileging of tradition.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: November 7th, 2005 08:06 am (UTC)

Mark. I don't know what is really up.

I am sick to death of people telling me I'm not traditional and American because I am leftist or feminist or anti racist or don't give a shit about football. I don't need to hear this bullshit from an Anarchist who has probably heard enough of it himself.

You took a throwaway joke and tried to turn it serious, I accepted your point that racism is traditional, and then you kept. going. I think you're still smarting over the culture convo I was too tired to continue, and that's what this is really about, but I have no way of knowing unless you speak up.

You are the one who turned this into "they are MORE trad than you" and began to take on an antagonistic tone. You also keep putting words in my mouth, which is ANNOYING.

And yes, I will continue to mock people who claim to uphold American tradition but who don't know a thing about our history or culture. And if they (or you) try to pull rank, then yes I will point out my ancestors were probably here before theirs.

I consider this topic closed. Why don't you email me and tell me what you're _really_ pissed off about, and we can take it from there.

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