July 10, 2008

Beyond White Whine

Hank Williams has a great post in which he explores the 2008 definition or racism.

Today, racism’s definition is so circumscribed, that for many it is almost impossible to find a valid use case. For many, it would require calling a black man a nigger or saying, I hate black people, or doing something equivalently overt. Of course, for some, even the use of the word nigger does not warrant the racism label, since black people use it amongst themselves. It’s not fair, defenders say, to give a word to black people that white people can’t use.

Interestingly, for many, it’s also not valid to label language as racist if it not in the form of a statement. It’s a bit like Jeopardy. Any potentially racist language is not racist if you change the form to a question, or in Loren Feldman’s case, a joke. Then you can, apparently, say absolutely anything.
Read it.

Hank gives rich context for his thoughts, life context, which many of Feldman's minions lack. While I'm not sure I agree with Hank that silence = support, I do believe that the social media power brokers actually saying something useful on the topic would be a Good Thing. This is a racially traumatized country, and this industry is no more healthy. They might start with asking Feldman what precisely he intends to do to execute threats like these directed at Lynne D. Johnson:
You are an unethical piece of shit. YOU ARE A LIAR. And you did it on purpose to help fastcompany. Shame on you, I will never stop till I have your job, bank on it. - loren feldman

Tim she is a complete liar. And she will pay, you'll see my friend. - loren feldman
From the man who has proclaimed, "Black People Are Lame," and "Black People Can't Get It Together," I find the righteous indignation over backlash created by a Big Brand not wanting to be associated with a Web 2.0 minstrel act a bit much.

While Feldman obsesses on whether Winer made the call or Scoble made the call, the bottom line is some future enemy would have made the call if one of his past associates hadn't.

In the end, it is how it has always been: you own your own words.


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