My great grandmother lived in the piedmont of North Carolina and owned a slave. Am I guilty? Should I be punished for that? I have been punished, and I'm sure I will be punished more. Do I deserve this punishment? I go out of my way to protect and include black people. Does my calling them black people make me a racist? How about brown people, red people, white people? Does my effort to be inclusive make me an ass? Is there any way for a white person to broach this subject without it being negatively received? I know I am priviledged but I am not immune to the attitudes of people around me of every description.
Racial relations get worse when people are unfairly punished. I was born with no ill will toward any group. Painful experiences in my life have led me to be wary of certain groups of people. Usually it is the people who have historically been abused who later become agressive or condescending. Jewish people have treated me badly, moreso than Blacks but some of them too have assumed that I am a racist and helped to make me into one. It is understandable, but it does not result in the whirled peas that we seek.
Those who say Maher should be fired for racism, seriously now? He did not call anyone else a nigger, he was referring to himself. His joke was on TV and showed that he understood the class system that was applied to black slaves in our nation. Who else but a comedian can publicly break taboos and get people talking about it? If we are to heal these wounds, we need to talk about it. Keeping it secret and taboo does nothing to reduce the pain. Time passing, generations shifting, that reduces the pain... but I wish we could do it faster.
This brings me to the question about words. The word nigger is apparently 100% taboo, at least for a white person to say on TV. It appears to me that it is just a word. It is not the word that I am worried about, it is the attitude. Certainly words and attitudes are linked, but it is not a 100% correlation between saying the word nigger and being a racist or promoting racism. I do not believe that Maher is a racist. I think he is trying to defuse the tensions around our dark history and get us all to laugh, together, and let the pain slip away.
What other words are taboo? I can't think of any that the two white men I live with react to as strongly. Honky? LOL.
I wish "bitch" were less acceptable. The word has been applied to me many times in my life, usually because I refused to do what a white man wanted me to do, or because I got angry. The word bitch has been used to suppress the will of a huge class of people, and it is still in common usage and acceptable in rap music and other places. I am allowed to get angry and to assert myself without deserving denigration. But women have been put down for a long time and a large segment of our population would like to keep us down. If Maher had said "I'm a bitch", I would not have been offended. That is not the same as him calling someone else a bitch.
I would like to hear from the descendants of slaves in the US as to whether they think Maher should be fired. I bet they will say no. He is doing his job, making us laugh out things that hurt.
Today it was a lady by the name of Hammer. What's in a name, I ask? Did your name make you into a prosecutor in the pharmacy line? How many hammering questions does one have to tolerate before you are satisfied? Is there an inkling of generosity in you? A morsel of patience? An ounce of kindness? I saw none. I experienced questions hammering in faster than they could be answered, demands stacked up while I was trying to answer the questions, topped with an insult. Ms Hammer is just the most recent experience of this sort. There was one yesterday, and the day before more than one. Too bad it's nice people who get cancer and not the bitches.
This is Oregon. People in general are nice here. But not the raving maniac that stabbed two men to death the other day trying to get to some young women who were a different color than him. This disease of condemnation and hatred is seeping deeper and deeper into our culture, and leaking out in more settings all the time. I do not know how to fix it. I don't believe in phony niceness, but I also don't believe in punishing people just because you can. I am sensitive and not cut out to tolerate verbal abuse in the course of my work. I try to contain my anguish until I am in private. Then I weep. I try to be kind to the people that I meet. And I may have to find a way to not serve the public any more.
In Japan they have a name for it. Hikikomori. It's a sociological phenomenon in which people simply stop participating in society. If society is ugly, then decent people will not show up. If decent people do not show up, society will uglify even more. If we all retreat into our tiny little bubbles even more than we already have, the fractures in our supposed union of states and free people becomes null and void. This culture is headed for the bloodbath.
If 50% actually are above average, and 30% more think they are when they are not, then we are surrounded by blowhards, egotists, optimists of the ickiest kind. I guess the other 20% knows that they are below average or thinks that they are even if they are above average.
NY TIMES OPINION PIECE: MOLLY WORTHEN SAYS STOP SAYING “I FEEL LIKE”
The PC-ness and softening of modern verbal communications has results in a net loss of meaning. We can fix this, if we want. Behind the cut is a good article arguing for awareness of this one particular phrase. "I feel like" is often used to replace the words "I think", and it is not a feeling at all. Feelings, that is emotions, are quite distinct from thoughts and judgements. To be clear in our communications requires that we recognize and communicate that difference.
If you know what's good for you, if you know that they're leftists, you won't believe anything they say any time, anywhere, about anything … So we have now the Four Corners of Deceit, and the two universes in which we live. The Universe of Lies, the Universe of Reality, and The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit.
—Rush Limbaugh when discussing climate science
I don't remember the stats but I saw in the news that most 4 or 5 year old Americans already have a television and a "mobile device" of their own. Most babies are exposed to mobile devices before age 1.
Sounds like the creatures who had elongated hominid skulls found in Peru were genetically quite different from homo sapiens.
MIT Technology Review | November 29, 2013
( great article here )
Got me started thinking about this (again):
I had a housemate once who would become completely obsessed with a new video game and play it continuously until he had completed all the levels. It took a couple months for him to master Grand Theft Auto. He took me for a ride in it. Our virtual reality was shared in living and breathing space, and he was not a lost cause. I don't think. I hope not.
I have a friend who lives a good fraction of her life in second life. She is married in this life and has a significant other in second life. Her 2nd life SO is known to her and her husband. He has a wife and kids. They visit together, eat icecream, break ankles, breathe the same air. Second life has merged with first life.
I have a sister whose occupation is building things for the second world. That is, she obtains or develops images and sounds that she can sell for virtual money. Her reality is beyond my comprehension, except that when she is there beside me she is just as solidly herself as she has ever been, with a sharpened wit.
I have a boyfriend who barely exists on the internet. I told him how many fb friends I have now and he laughed at me. I think he is afraid that I will go where my sister went, or my friend. He likes to exercise and play his guitar and garden and read. Doing all those other things sounds far better than this. I'm outta here.
2/3 of all articles about new drugs in the NEJM are at least co-authored by drug company employees. And it's getting worse. So don't believe what the "science" tells you about new drugs. Use old, established drugs, if you're going the Rx route. Wait until a new drug has been in use at least a decade before considering it. Let other people be the experimental subjects. That's my two cents.