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Haddayr Copley-Woods [userpic]

Okay. NOW, I'm pissed. This race thing no longer has anything to do with fiction or bears.

January 29th, 2009 (10:40 am)

Someone (countess_baltar) I have never met (who obviously didn't even bother to check my profile before s/he spouted off in my LJ) has posted something which is buried in the comments responding to my letter to my fellow whiteys here. Please do peruse it! Or don't. It's the same crap defensive white people the world over have been posting repeatedly. It might help you to understand my responses, but as I'll be quoting from his/her comment, perhaps you can keep up without burning your eyes.

Here's my response:

Well, hello, there, Complete Stranger who Obviously Knows Nothing About Me!

Your babbling about white poverty means nothing. Many of my ancestors lived on squirrels in the hills. But they were STILL WHITE. (Have you ever noticed, incidentally, how so many white people start arguing about race by talking about how poor their _parents_ were or their _grandparents?_ Seems like white privilege has helped them to have plenty to eat in _this_ generation.) Me? I was poor as a child and young adult. Me, myself, and I. I know what it's like to be hungry. I know what it's like to be desperate and scared. And you know what? THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT I AM WHITE OR WHETHER OR NOT I AM RACIST. Nothing.

Also, especially Irish folks point out how things were tough for our ancestors, while Black folks can mention incidents that happened this week.

You say:
And it wasn't just Cherokee. It was Choctaw and Chickasaw as well, but there was this group that the "whites" didn't want because they were too Native American, and the Native Americans didn't want them because they weren't Native American enough."

And this has anything to do with the discussion or with you because . . . ?

The blond, white Utah majority discriminated against me because I was too "dark" (i.e. looked Native American), and I was told flat out several times in Southern California "Don't bother applying. You wont get it because you're white.

Really? Who told you that you shouldn't bother applying because you were white? Applying for what? Was it other bitter white people like you making assumptions, or was it a hiring entity? Hmmm. If the white majority in Utah discriminated against you because you didn't look white, how does this help your later argument that racism is dead, further down?

Why the hell is it so important for LJ Fandom that I identify as a "white" person and feel guilty for having some sort of "privilege" in the U.S.?

Wow. I said nothing about feeling guilty. You made that up yourself, and if I were an armchair psychologist, I might say this is the crux of your confused and incoherent comment. You feel guilty, and you don't like the feeling. I want white people to simply be themselves. That's all. Be yourself. Acknowledge who you are and what that means. Don't minimize other people's suffering to make yourself feel better. And if you identify as bi-racial, why are you getting so goddamned defensive? My letter was to WHITE people.

Is there some sort of breakdown going on because with President Obama, the excuse of "eee-vil white privilege held me down" has become questionable if not invalid?

Ah, here we go! Racism has disappeared because ONE BLACK MAN got ahead. I don't know you at all, but I can tell already that you are even worse at math than I am.

There. That's who I am. The person everyone hates for bringing up in these debates even worse questions that people don't want to confront. Are you happy now?

No, of course not. The "correct" response would have been something like: "I'm white and I'm so ashamed of my culture."


What "worse questions" did you bring up that no one wants to confront? Your hallucination that racism is dead?

For you to say I want white people to be ashamed of their culture is ridiculously laughable. How about checking someone's profile before you write idiotic stuff like that?

I study Irish Gaelic and can sing several songs in Irish by heart. I play the bodhrán. I know and can demonstrate multiple ethnic dances from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany -- my ancestral homes. Did you even bother to look at my user icon on my original post about this? I am dressed up like a woman from 1630s Highland Scotland. I waulk wool and sing in Scottish Gaelic and learn old English songs on the recorder. I am proud, proud, PROUD of my culture, you dumbass.

If you'd ever read my journal before, which you obviously haven't, you'd know that I am always calling on white people to engage in their own cultures and celebrate them to ground themselves before they turn to other cultures.

I posted this as its own post in case some of my white friends don't get still why so many people of color are getting PISSED OFF in this debate. Because they are getting wild, incoherent responses like this that have nothing to do with anything except to say: "Your reality is a lie! You are not struggling! My grandma ate a skunk once!"

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Leah Bobet (leahbobet)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)

I am keeping all feet and hands and associated limbs out of this debate. I have no horses therein.

I would just like to ask if you're absolutely sure you're not being trolled here.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)

I wondered about it, because s/he has no identifying information on his/her LJ, and very few posts, but this is so similar to other things I've been reading other places I thought it warranted a response publicly.

Posted by: FairestCat (fairestcat)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Jam (jamiam)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Leah Bobet (leahbobet)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Jam (jamiam)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Leah Bobet (leahbobet)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Jen Volant (tacithydra)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
eyes

Yes.

The thing that drives me crazy is that the first third of this was about representations of race and culture in writing. The latter two thirds (that are in public) have been ALL ABOUT how white people feel about it, and their anger and hurt feelings.

We're like a fucking hive mind. Hey PoC and allies, wanna talk about race? As one, like the borg, we will absorb the conversation until it is all about us! And if you manage to reach some of us? There's hundreds more on the way! We'll just keep showing up endlessly in your comments section, saying random stuff and demanding answers to it until your original point is buried under our mass.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)

exactly.

Posted by: Jessie (orbitalmechanic)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)

Posted by: the high four-and-a-half (nextian)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Jessie (orbitalmechanic)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)

Based on the livejournal in question, your commenter's culture appears to be 1978 Battlestar Galactica (or more specifically NOT CURRENT BATTLESTAR GALACTICA), in which case I probably have said in the past that she(?) should be ashamed of it. So there's that.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)

HA!

Okay that's mean AND hilarious!

Posted by: Ayesha (browngirl)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)

Yes, and yes, and yes again! Thank you for being wise, perceptive, and clueful. Thank you for writing this.

Posted by: Trouble (ccjohn)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
sinatra

I'm seeing a lot of discussion about these things on LJ, a great deal of it very angry. Me personally, I saw none of this coming and it all seems horrible.

So I'm just gonna post this quote. It seems apt. Because within this context, it appears anyone and everyone can and will interpret anything and everything as mean-spirited and ignorant, this quote is directed at ME. That seems safe.

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel's as others see us!

-- Robert Burns.
I'd really like to hear you play the bodhrán.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
clanntartan

Wonderful quote.

I am not so bad on the bodhrán if I do say so myself. There is a video of me and my sisters playing somewhere and if I get my hands on it I'll put it up on Youtube.

Posted by: Trouble (ccjohn)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)

Totally beside the point, but I just wanted to note that my Dust-Bowl-baby father LOVES The Grapes of Wrath. Go figure.

Back to the topic: You know what I look like. And I am WHITE, baby, WHITE, with all the upsides (some of which can be embarrassing, sure) and all of the downsides and all of the stuff in between. I may be X% Latino, but I don't know squat about the Latino experience. I may be X% some-tribe-or-another, but I don't know squat about the Native American experience. Hell, I may be part Semitic of some sort or part black or part who knows what, but what I know is what it's like to be a white man in America. I am neither proud nor ashamed. Why is it so hard?

And yeah, you're a role model for embracing your particular white culture in my book. I don't think the timing is right for you to be one of the reasons I stopped trying to "act" a culture that isn't mine in the SCA and started trying to learn about one that's at least PLAUSIBLY mine (Cymru), but if not, you're a reason I still think I made the right call. Us white folk really badly need to learn to know who we are and live with it without using it as an excuse to be jerks to everyone else, don't we?

Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)

Well, and of course now everyone knows what I look like, too. Forgot I was using my photo as an icon. :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)

Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)

Posted by: baronnemelisend (baronnemelisend)
Posted at: February 4th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)

Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Jen Volant (tacithydra)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)

Although I only know you from your comments in my LJ, I would say that it seems to me that it's a mostly-good trait which carries a great deal of baggage with it when applied to race, as you saw from the responses you've gotten to some of your comments.

Posted by: R. Francis Smith (rfrancis)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)

Posted by: PixelFish (pixelfish)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
my experiences in the monoculture....

(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Posted by: PixelFish (pixelfish)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re: my experiences in the monoculture....

Posted by: Debra (lady_mishegas)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
duran duran nick uncle sam

I am new to the debate and your flist, so I'm not sure the origin of this discussion. But one thing that always amazes me is the glorification of oppression. White people are so quick to yell out "I know about oppression 'cause I too am oppressed," and I don't get that. I mean, we should all be proud of our origins no matter what they are, but if you've been lucky enough to have privilege, why would you turn around and claim you hadn't? I was am white, Jewish, middle-class, and went to private school and college because my parents could pay for it. Claiming oppression because my ancestors escaped Poland seems to me to be the essence of hypocracy, and really, why would I want to be oppressed? Wasn't I lucky to have so many advantages?

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)

Well, this is the way I see it, myself. But a TON of white folks just don't. And they get yell-y.

How this started was that someone posted an online critique of a book written by Elizabeth Bear. While she enjoyed the book, she believed the depiction of one of the characters was racist.

All hell broke loose, after that.

Posted by: Diatryma (diatryma)
Posted at: February 1st, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)

Posted by: Jam (jamiam)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)

I am stealing your response to the "guilty" comment. Please except this compliment as payment for the theft of your intellectual property.

Posted by: XX (dans_la_reine)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)

you are made of win1111

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)

Yes, my dear, you ARE a pain in the ass. And adorable. The jury is still out on lovable. :-P

I do feel I must point out to you that you have never seen me explode, either online or in person. You've seen me argue my point, possibly with venom.

I feel I should tell you this so you have fair warning. My explosions are . . . considerably more impressive. So you have something to look forward to!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)

Posted by: les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel (delux_vivens)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)

I know and can demonstrate multiple ethnic dances from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany -- my ancestral homes.

I am oppressed by the lack of youtube video proving this statement.

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)

I have been challenged! Perhaps I will make some!

There is currently no video of me dancing that I am aware of. It's extra-special fun now because I look like David Byrne demonstrating the dances.

One of the German ones I know is a dance for all men: blacksmiths. It looks like a really, really, REALLY rowdy version of "patty cake." You tuck your thumbs under the straps of pretend overalls and kick your legs in a manly fashion.

LUV IT

Posted by: les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel (delux_vivens)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel (delux_vivens)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)

Posted by: I DON'T LIKE ANGRY FUTURE ROMULANS (bossymarmalade)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
fry-approved!


What "worse questions" did you bring up that no one wants to confront? Your hallucination that racism is dead?


In a conversation that's been tiring and awful, this comment made me laugh like nobody's business. *g* Thank you for both the post and the moment of unmitigated glee!

Posted by: Live a thousand lives by picture (ajollypyruvate)
Posted at: February 12th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Indeed!

I laughed at that, too.
"I am not an addle-pated lack-wit! I'm, um, ...Devil's Advocate! Yeah, that's right. You're just a-feared of me and my 'worse' questions! Yeah, that's right."

Posted by: Julia (skogkatt)
Posted at: January 29th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)

I agree with everything you said here, and I appreciate a lot of the serious comments in response. What I think I am going to remember from this post, though, is the last line. OMG so hilarious! It needs to be on a webcomic, or t-shirts and mugs and stuff.

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