Words of advice for White would-be writers on race

Filed under: Talk About Race |

Lisa Solod Warren’s December 16th, 2009 article (which has since been deleted) in The Huffington Post titled Two Black Role Models Done In By Hubris invoked a great deal of outrage. I caught wind of the article via Twitter where people were expressing emotions ranging from utter dismay to outright anger at – among other things – the racially patronizing tone in which the article was written. In a previous article I used Warren’s article as an example for the importance of white writers to check their privilege before embarking on writing about racial issues. However, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the aftermath.

If you ever find yourself in this kind of situation, the best thing you can do is set aside your ego and listen. The knee-jerk reaction is to go on the defensive, but the best thing is to ignore that impulse and take in what is being said to you. Even in the heat of disagreement, it is crucial to try to empathize. Unfortunately, that’s not what Warren chose to do.

Beware: The symptoms of Foot-in-Mouth Disease

First, Warren became dismissive, glibly stating:

“it seems I am being labeled by some a racist. No rationale for that but people like to call out names.” Then—not content with having only one foot in her mouth—she became defensive, saying “seems anyone who speaks about race is a racist.”

Let’s break this down one foot at a time.

If you write an article that results in a mass of people denouncing your article and possibly yourself as racist, it’s not going to be for some arbitrary reason. Though it won’t be comfortable, you need to accept the idea that you may have done what it is you are being accused. Calling the large group of people whom you offended irrational is not going to help. They’re angry for a reason, you have to acknowledge that.

No serious person is ever going to say it’s racist to talk about race. That’s nonsense. The whole it’s racist to acknowledge/see/talk about race thing desperately needs to go away. While the idea of colour-blindness may seem altruistic to some, it’s really a byproduct of white privilege. The ability to see race as a “card” to be “played” is also a byproduct of white privilege. The problem isn’t in acknowledging race but in letting race be a marker for determining a person’s worth or quality as a human being. Since Western society confers unequal privilege to those who are white, white people and people of colour experience life differently. To ignore this reality, to refuse to acknowledge race, is to willfully promote this inequality.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation and decide to respond, a piece of advice: don’t ever try to back up what you said by citing the number of people of colour that are your friends/colleagues/acquaintances. Saying something like:

“you would be surprised at the number of black people I know”

will not bolster your credibility. What will also not help is stating your political ideology as evidence of your lack of racism, even if it is “liberal democrat.” Just because you consider yourself “liberal” or “progressive” doesn’t mean you are automatically free of aversive racism. (Not to mention, the Democratic Party was known as “the white man’s party” for much of its early existence. Don’t forget, the KKK was comprised of mostly Democrats in its beginning.)

The last best hope for redemption

Even if you managed to fit not only both feet but your entire lower torso into your mouth, there is still an opportunity for redemption. You can make all the mistakes above and still manage to turn the situation around into a true learning experience. The way to allow such an experience help you grow as a person is by staying engaged.

Amongst the (justifiably) angry tweets, some including myself tried to reach out and engage Warren via Twitter in hopes of educating her on privilege. What could have transpired is a healthy dialogue on white privilege, aversive racism and how to identify and confront these within ourselves. The outcome of such a dialogue could have been Warren writing a new article about the whole experience and how she came to identify the racially condescending overtones of her previous article. She could have held herself accountable for her words. At the very least, she could have apologized.

Any or all of that could have happened, but it didn’t. Warren chose to ignore the opportunity. Her last public words on the matter (that I could find) was “I am the naive one. I never expected the post in HuffPo yesterday to go viral. I’m not a racist but it will be hard to convince otherwise.” To forgo for now the logical quagmire of trying to prove a negative, it’s unfortunate that Warren tuned out. Perhaps the sting of irony was too great; after all, her offending article was based on the alleged hubris and supposed downfalls of President Obama and Tiger Woods. If ever there was a more profound example of irony or hubris than what happened with that article, I don’t know what it is.

Final piece of advice: Start here

Peggy McIntosh’s paper White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (1988) is widely considered the primer on the topic of white privilege. Despite being written over 20 years ago, much of what McIntosh says still applies to our contemporary Western society. It truly is required reading for white writers and activists who wish to seriously engage in discussions on race. Lisa Warren may have brushed off the suggestion to read it, but I hope those of you reading this article that are white will take the few minutes it requires and read it now.


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Author: Kirwan Institute (439 Articles)

Kirwan Institute

17 Responses to Words of advice for White would-be writers on race

  1. Mr. Barber: You are right that I should have apologized. I have been thinking about how to write something that would incorporate an apology and begin a new discussion, but I let it sit too long. I do apologize to you and others for offending you.

    I am glad, however, that I happened on this article by accident; it might have been nice to alert me to it so that I could repond, as I am doing here.

    Yes, I took the piece down. It was clearly stoking fires I did not wish to stoke and the comments were degenerating into personal attacks on me and my writing (as happens frequently on the ‘net, especially under the easy clock of anonymity) See my article on same here :http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/the-painful-art-of-blogging/

    However to, in your tags, link me with the KKK, is the height of hyberbole and one good reason that a national dialogue about race, which Eric Holder called for last year, may be a long time coming.

    We clearly need that dialogue even if it makes the majority of Americans uncomfortable (as evidenced by reaction to Holder’s call). Americans would like to THINK they live in a post-racial society, but we are not even close. Incidents of anti-Semtism, misgyny, racial prejudice, sexual orientation prejudice and every other kind of prejudice one can think of, still plague our country.

    As a Jew I have been subjected to a huge amount of anti-Semitism and I would like to think I understand discrimination a little. I don’t see myself as a victim and never have; I do put down a lot of it to sheer ignorance and misguided assumptions. My experience with anti-Semitism means that I am much more than a white woman of privilege, as some have decided to describe me.

    But I, in no way, wished to speak for black people in America, and did not presume to do so in my article. I was trying to talk about role models–and as America in general idolizes sports figures, it was not an idle assumption. In addition, Woods had received praise for his mentorship.

    But putting Woods and Obama in the same post was ill-advised. Obama is a different kind of role model and rightly so. A majority of our country–including progressives, the young, and first-time voters– put him in office and as such have a right to be disappointed, as I am, in his leadership. That has nothing to do with his being black: it has to do with our expectations born out of his promises. And using the word “hubris” was certainly not meant to signify uppityness, as some have claimed. In fact, a Washington Post editorialist used the same word to describe Obama just last week. I stand by my statement that the president’s sense of himself does not jibe with what he is doing for the people who elected him.

    Right now, criticizing Obama has become a polarizing issue: those who wish to hold his feet to the fire are fighting against those who wish to support him, no matter what his decisions are. It is a difficult time for both the President and the country. I sincerely believe that many of those who are disappointed in him do not wish to say so out of a white guilt. That’s another reason for a dialogue on race.

    Assuming, as many have done, that because I say I am not a racist, I therefore must be, is illogical at best. It is akin to being sure that someone who protests that they are not crazy therefore must be insane. And because I wrote an article that many people took as racist does not mean I am so…and further investigation into my writing might have proved that.:


    Mr. Barber’s assumption that he tried to reach out to me by tweets gives even more credence to the idea that Twitter is set up to allow a free exchange of ideas between people: much too much to expect of media that allows a mere 140 characters. I had no idea the article had even gone viral, I had no idea why people were following me until hours had passed, and I also did not tweet the article myself. He assumes that I did not care about how my article was seen, which is not true at all. His description of my defenses illustrates to me, a woman bewildered and genuinely confounded by some of the reactions to the post. Under attack, I tried to protest but each protest was met with more attacks. It is hard to start a conversation that way, which is why I chose to back off and sit tight for awhile, rather than keep the “conversation” going.

    That the article took on a life of its own, an unintended life to be sure, is unfortunate. That it provked comments about both me and my skill as a writer was unnecessary. But that the article was found offensive by many is accurate and, again, for that I apologize.

    There is much more to say about race in America–and people from all races need to say it–but this comment is not the place. Suffice it to say that I heard you, Mr. Barber, and all the others. I heard you.

    January 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

  2. Pingback: White Privilege Defined. « Racism Alive And Well

  3. Greetings Ms. Warren. Thank you for your response to my article. Normally, I would have alerted you to my articles personally. I chose not do so due to the lack of responsiveness from you regarding my outreach on Twitter. However, we are communicating now and that is what’s important.

    To get this out of the way, I wanted to quickly clarify the issue with the tags. Blog tags are meant to act only as helpful keywords for searching a database of entries. Since they are only keywords to indicate topics of significance that arise within an article, they do not necessarily relate to one another in any meaningful way. ‘KKK’ was added as a tag because I mention a significant fact about the Klan’s history. Your name coming directly after it in the tags list was only due to the alphabetical order in which tags are listed. I hope you understand that in no way did I mean to link you with the Ku Kluk Klan in any way, shape or form.

    The election of Barack Obama to the presidency is without a doubt a historic event, but I’m willing to bet you that we’d both be hard pressed to find many African-Americans who thought that event marked the beginning of a post-racial America. This post-racial ideal is a white liberal delusion; one that could only come from a mind that does not witness or experience the daily reality of systemic racism. In other words, it could only be born from white privilege.

    The danger of this post-racial delusion, of course, is that it gives way to complacency. Well-meaning white people believe that racism is behind us, so there’s no need to think about race anymore. President Obama, to them, is a marker that things are finally okay and that critical thinking about aversive and systemic racism has become anachronistic.

    As you said yourself, we are not even close. Both Canada and the US have failed to truly reconcile with their slave past. Slavery ended in Canada about 176 years ago and ended in the US about 145 years ago, but the legacies of slavery—inequality, racism and white privilege—still haunt both countries to this day. Those of us who benefit from privilege tend to fail to see and appreciate the historical relationship between the Black population and the White power structure.

    There is a complex history of the White power structure strategically designating who they want to play figurehead and try to imposed them on the Black community. These people are basically mouth pieces for the White elite. They are not chosen by the people whom they were ostensibly representing (see: Michael Steele).

    Contrast this with people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, for example. These were leaders that came from the Black community; they weren’t puppets installed by the White power system. It is for this reason that White politicians and agencies like the police and the FBI feared them—these leaders were beyond their control. Taking this context into consideration, can you see how a White writer putting out an article declaring President Obama and Tiger Woods as role models for the Black community can comes across as the same attempt to tell Black people who their leaders are?

    I understand you have first-hand experience with facing anti-Semitism—and I do not wish to seem dismissive of this—but just as I said regarding political affiliation, being a woman or Jewish or a person of colour or GLBT or any combo thereof does not automatically preclude anyone from having instilled aversive attitudes of some kind. Have you by chance had an opportunity to read the Peggy McIntosh paper I linked at the end of my article? If not, I sincerely hope you do. I think you would find it a very eye-opening read.

    No one (that I know of) is saying that you are a racist because you claim to not be a racist, so I’m not sure where that is coming from. There are very few negatives one can logically prove, so I wouldn’t worry about making that an issue. Whoever initially tweeted the article and whether you expected it to go viral or not is also neither here nor there. The only thing that matters is what was said in the article.

    You have acknowledged that many found your article offensive and you apologized for the offense caused. That is commendable, but I would like to ask: do you truly understand why people were offended?

    Mike Barber
    January 6, 2010 at 12:05 am

  4. Mike
    I really would rather do this privately but could not find an email for you on your site or this one.

    I am more than a little dismayed at your conscending attitude. “Ok, little girl, you have taken your punishment, now do you know WHY you are being punished?”

    I said I am sorry and I said my piece. It reflected some of the really ugly and vituperative things said about me on the net. You may think them deserved, I don’t.

    Truth is, as many people as complained about the article, that many at least saw no racisim in it AND agreed with the main points.

    But I still apologized because it was, in hindsight, a dumb thing to do to link those two: however, anyone who answered my blog asking for me to talk about Ensign, Sanford, Bush and the like as role models, was blowing smoke. NO ONE ever thought those men were. Obama and Woods were and still are. People can deny it all they want–which for many reasons I don’t get: Obama IS a great role model–but the fact remains.

    Many many things have been written by people with a larger voice and biggger fame than I on how Obama has failed. That may be a matter of opinion but it that is one reason to fault my article it does not hold water.

    I apologized for the offensive thing: which was linking two unrelated black men together. I’m done.

    You, another white guy, want to educate me in racism and prejudice? Walk a mile in my shoes. I am no longer interested in trying to convince perfect strangers that I am not what they decided I was.

    I would daresay neither you nor any of my original detractors (Who obviously did not read my apology either, interested as people usually are, in the salacious first story but not the folloow up) read the links I provided to some very fine writing of mine. That’s okay, do what you want. It’s your time to spend.

    But as for me, the “discussion” is over for me. I know who I am and what I stand for and it’s much more than you have any idea about. Judge me on one article you found offensive? Go ahead. I have been writing for 30 years and I’ll just keep on.

    (the whole password thing on this site confounds me; a password won’t work more than once and I don’t know how to change it, so if you want to write me, you can find me. I don’t hide.)

    January 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

  5. I understand you infer a condescending attitude, but I assure you that is not the intent. I am being quiet sincere with the questions I am posing to you. I was hoping this would be more of an open dialogue where we can exchange and explore different viewpoints and understandings, rather than just speak at each other.

    I understand that there were remarks made (by others) about you as a person, but that’s not what my article or this discussion is about. I never commented on them one way or another, so why would you say I “think them deserved”? None of this has ever been, on my part, about who you are as a person; this is not about judging Lisa Warren, the person. Rather, this is about what you did—they are two separate things.

    You clearly feel indignant that I—as you pointed out, a White male—would want to engage you on matters concerning aversive racism and privilege. Do you feel you are above learning anything from me? Or is it that you feel you are above the need to confront your own aversive attitudes?

    This whole thing—your article going viral, the criticism, my articles, this back-and-forth—has come to a proverbial fork in the road. This is your red pill/blue pill moment (to borrow from “The Matrix”); the choices that lay before you is to either choose the path of reflection and hard self-examination, or to choose willful ignorance. I get the impression from your last reply that you have already chosen the latter, but I hope you prove me wrong.

    I don’t know if you thought my questions were rhetorical—you certainly didn’t attempt to answer any of them. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if you actually read my reply? Other than my closing question, which I believe you mistook to be condescending rhetoric, you made no reference to any of my points.

    I brought up points regarding the complexity of racial relations in the US stemming from slavery to our time, and the historical backdrop of oppressive dynamics between the White power structure and the Black community in order to try to explain why your folly was much more than simply “linking two unrelated black men together.” Surely, as a writer, you can have appreciation for nuance and context. Why didn’t you address them?

    You unknowingly answered my last question, “do you truly understand why people were offended?” It is clear that you don’t, and this is unfortunate. You seem to be apologizing merely for the fact that there was offense rather than genuinely apologizing for what was offensive. If you truly believe that “linking two unrelated black men together (Obama and Woods)” was the extent of the offense, then you aren’t getting it.

    Your dismissal of my very relevant points and questions further brings your sincerity into question. Rather than engaging in a dialogue by addressing the points I put forth, you only presented irrelevancies—you didn’t expect the article to “go viral”; you weren’t the one who tweeted it; other people (who aren’t me) attacked your writing and your character; here, read these other articles I wrote that have nothing to do with the article at hand—which bare no other function than to derail the conversation I am trying to have with you. In fact, you even accused me of “the height of hyberbole [sic]” because you misunderstood the function of the blog tags.

    Throwing my race and sex in my face in the manner that you did is also an evasive derailing tactic. Your experience with anti-semitism and sexism (as a Jewish woman) notwithstanding, you still have White privilege as much as I. We both benefit from this privilege; the thing is, only one of us is acknowledging it.

    If you think my being a privileged White, heterosexual male makes me the wrong person to be confronting White/hetero/male privilege, I have to ask: who else is? Racism and White privilege (to stick with the subject) is very much a White persons problem. We shouldn’t be leaving the fight to victims of oppression. A fundamental part of the work in this is for White people, like you and I, to confront our privilege. One can’t be willfully ignorant or complacent about privilege and be part of the solution. In fact, ignorance and complacency is what perpetuates inequality and injustice.

    As I stated earlier, I hoped this would be a more engaged dialogue. I don’t know if this exchange has been of any benefit to you or not. At the very least, it helps prove my points in the initial article. Even if just as an anecdote, I’m sure others will find it useful. You have declared your interest in it to be over, so I won’t push for or expect a reply.

    Mike Barber
    January 7, 2010 at 12:09 am

  6. Pingback: Andrew Grant-Thomas, Ph.D.: Accusing someone of racism squashes the likelihood of fruitful dialogue like a bug | Deconstructing The News

  7. Pingback: Andrew Grant-Thomas, Ph.D.: Accusing someone of racism squashes the likelihood of fruitful dialogue like a bug | Blog News Web

  8. This is getting a little tiresome. You call me a would-be writer but the real truth is that I am a real writer and I have work to do.
    You insist that I still don’t know what I did. And you don’t think I should find that condescending? 99 percet of the comments against me were specifically that that was the offensive thing. You obviously have something else in mind that YOU found offensive and you apparently wish me to guess it or keep talking to you until I tease it out. As I have said before, you know nothing about me, how I live, what I have done, where I have been, yet you make huge assumptions.

    Do I wish to have a dialogue with you? No. Am I happy to get involved in a general dialogue with people who won’t make assumptions and accusations? Probably. Your other commenter today made some good points. Perhaps you will accede to at least some of their truth.

    Mike, I have a family to raise, work to do, and parents to care for, among many many other responsibilities. If you wish to keep my name in the forefront of the racist press, I can’t stop you. But I just can’t keep up with you.

    I think it’s great you are writing for what looks like a predominantly black site, as a white man of privileg–indeed the very most privileged kind of person in the world. I do acknowledge both my luck in being born to a middle class family (who got that way after only two generations of very hard work and abject poverty) and my own privilege (in the sense that as a Jew I can pass and avoid some of the racism that others cannot) but I will not apologize for either.

    If you insist on seeing my unwillingness to continue and continue and continue to engage with you as being unwilling to learn from what has happened, then so be it. My entire life has been lived in the company of black men and women who have been my friends and colleagues. That this is not enough to satisfy you of my integrity, that my apology doesn’t count because you say it doesn’t, makes me very angry.

    I do HOPE that this exchange has been “beneficial” to you.

    January 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm

  9. Where exactly did I call you a “would-be writer”? If you are referring to the title, you have grossly misinterpreted it. First, the title is directed at writers (established or aspiring) who are entertaining the idea of writing on an issue surrounding or involving race. Second, the title doesn’t mention your name because it was not directed at you, either directly or indirectly.

    I thought I made this point clear already, but I will state it plainly: this isn’t necessarily about *you.* None of this is really about Lisa Solod Warren—it’s about what Lisa Solod Warren did. I don’t know how to make it clearer that this is not about your character or your skills as a writer.

    I wrote my articles using you merely as an example. Your action (writing an offensive article) and your reaction (to the widespread criticism) are classic examples of someone who, though may be acting under altruistic motives, do so whilst not being mindful of privilege and/or the complexity of race relations, as well as the attitudes and/or actions that one gives in reaction to criticism. Your comments also serve as examples of archetypical derailing technics often used by people confronted about privilege or aversive discrimination.

    I’m not being coy with you; I have consistently stated my case clearly and plainly. It’s much more than simply linking a professional golfer and a Head of State, it’s about the racialization of your entire premiss. I’m confident that figure of 99% was meant hyperbolically, but even if you are telling me the you believe the vast majority of criticism was about “linking two unrelated black men together”…I have to wonder, did you read the comments on the Huffington Post?

    I know that you did because you replied to a couple of them (you even went so far as to suggest one of the commenters, LauraNo, might be illiterate), but I fail to understand how you can honestly contend that most of them were just upset with equating a golfer and the President of the United States. Here is a sampling of a few that I think you should take a moment to read again:

    ALPhillips: “I get so tired of Caucasian-Americans feeling that they can speak for African-Americans as to our disappointments in “Black” role models”

    PhilaPhilagirl: “I have seen it happen too often. Be an articulate, assertive, confident black male or female and you get labeled as filled with hubris which is a PC way of saying that you are too d**m uppity.”

    GovtCheese: “I find it absolutely fascinicating that Tiger Woods and Barack Obama are know the defacto representatives for African Americans.”

    trebutts: “I love when people who are not black try to tell me what I should be thinking or feeling as a black person.”

    NCAV2: “Why are you making this a race issue?”

    jb1966: “The amazing thing about this article is that it’s got such a knuckleheaded take on the importance of race in comparisons between Tiger Woods and the president that it even offended a local anti-Obama conservative blogger here in Houston.”

    lindorie: “I fail to see the logic in comparing Tiger Woods to Obama, or how the color of their skin comes to play, among other things.”

    mltaylor13pt1: “As a black man, I don’t need anyone appointing role models for me.”

    natturnex: “of course its more convenient to blame 1 black man than 41 white senators, the overwhelmingly white republican party, the irrational white teaparty movement, & the self-serving white-owned & operated insurance/financial/pharmacuetical/military/industrial complexes.”

    Sara Haile-Mariam: “I think this piece is incredibly misguided in a way that is (understandably) offensive. You disregard black history, and then make sweeping claims for black people.”

    trinidadgirl: “For years we have seen that this is what white media do to black people who are successful.”

    cliff notes: “i have no doubt that you really consider yourself to be colorblind. I actually believe that you want Obama to succeed. But i also have no doubt, based on your article, that you don’t quite understand the ways that race, white privelege and structural racism impact not only outcomes in society, but the way that society interprets those outcomes as well. And in many ways it is that type of failing and that type of attitude which is far more frustrating than that of the cross burners.”

    Lyubansky: “That you would connect these two men is troubling to me, especially given that you used racialized language to do so.”

    Of this sampling, the most common thread is regarding the racialized nature of your article. Other grievances include an inferred air of condescension or paternalism, and insensitivity or lack of appreciation for the complex history of racial tension between the Black community and the White system. Why do you continue to discount these points?

    Exactly what accusation have I leveled that you believe to be unfair? I’m not the one attacking the quality of your writing. I’m not the one attacking your intelligence. I’m not the one making personal digs at you. I’m not the one calling you a racist. I have been and remain interested in the article itself, your continued handling of the aftermath, and how others can learn from the whole thing.

    You have twice declared your interest in this to be over, and it’s probably best to let it go at that. Suffice it to say, the points made in my article have been exemplified to one degree or another through this exchange. I hope after some time has passed and you are more open to it, that you read over my articles and our exchange again.

    Mike Barber
    January 9, 2010 at 1:20 am

  10. Hi Mike, the whole “you don’t disagree with me, you just don’t understand what I am really saying” thing isn’t really working for you. Also, I find your implicit claim that you should speak for the black community a bit ironic, considering how you have just denied Ms. Warren that right. And perhaps rightly so.

    Perhaps I should write an article called “Words of advice for White would-be writers on would-be writers on race”. I could make it a bit condescending, state it in terms that are sufficiently general that I can always plausibly deny that it’s a personal issue, and pretend that I am doing someone else a favor by defending their case. But really, it would just be an ego trip.

    January 9, 2010 at 11:26 am

  11. Greetings sb84, thanks for commenting. I’m not sure I am following what you mean about the disagree/understand thing. Can you expand on that?

    I do not purport to speak for the Black community. It wasn’t only Black people who found Ms. Warren’s article to be offensive and—generally speaking—it shouldn’t be left to People of Colour (POC) to confront acts of racism or to challenge White people regarding privilege and aversive attitudes. Just as it shouldn’t be left to the GLBT community to confront homophobia.

    Racism is a White issue. It is not only appropriate but vital for people who have benefitted from white privilege and institutionalized racism to step up in the fight for social-justice and equality. The only way to dismantle a White supremacist system is to get those benefitting from it involved in stopping its perpetuation.

    If you sincerely believe I have been condescending, if you sincerely believe I made this a personal issue, then it would be helpful for me if you gave me some examples and explained why you perceived my words that way. It was certainly not my intention to make it personal because, to be frank, I don’t care enough to make it personal—I’m not that emotionally invested.

    Others elsewhere have made personal attacks, and that is unfortunate. But within the context of my articles and the proceeding back-and-forth, I think Ms. Warren was either conflating all criticism or she was using unsubstantiated claims as a derailing tactic to avoid actually addressing the points being made… which is why I refer to it as a back-and-forth rather than a conversation.

    In the end, there is a larger issue at hand that is far greater and important than individual personalities, mine or Warrens. I’m interested in staying on point and discussing the real issues, not getting sidetracked with the small stuff that only serves to derail.

    Mike Barber
    January 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

  12. Mike, kudos! I appreciate your thoughtful, nuanced, and long-suffering explication of the issues at stake. I in no way found you to be condescending, and I appreciate your genuine investment in anti-racist work. I hope it is apparent to you that Lisa Warren is much more invested in vindication than self-reflection. Frankly, her responses indicate how deeply racist she really is, and in my estimation, she’s the most dangerous kind of racist: the well-meaning liberal type who believes that she is personally color-blind/post-racial, and thus above critique, by the very communities to whom she purports to speak. As such, you should feel no further investment in delineating the nature of her offenses to her, since like her, I’m sure you have other work to do. I found this exchange compelling, and may indeed use it in my upcoming course discussion on white privilege.

    All best.

    January 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm

  13. I can’t comment on the article as i never read it but i don’t like your comments about racism being a white issue, it is an issue for all races. There are many names and stereotypes that can be used on white people or even sub groups of white people (redheads for one) I tried to make that point with the link above but it seems to be disregarded in this discussion.

    The other point i wanted to make is that positive racism is still racism, white people treating other races with kid gloves is just as bad as discriminating in a negative way. The only real way to stop racism is to take it out of “the equation” in every aspect of life. No one should pick on a specific group of people but at the same time no one should bend over backwards for one either.

    January 11, 2010 at 8:57 pm

  14. Pingback: What to Do When a Huge Group of People Call Your Argument Racist (Or Queerphobic) / Queerty

  15. Greetings Dr. Brittney, thank you for your comment. If you do use it in the discussion you mention, I would be very interested to hear what reactions and additional insights you and the participants have.

    Mike Barber
    January 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm

  16. Pingback: Words of advice for White would-be writers on race « A Past, Denied

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