"Playing The Race Card"

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Lex, May 1, 2006.

  1. Lex

    Lex
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    [SIZE=-1][/SIZE]
    Faceking mentioned this in another thread regarding immigration and MayDay and I wanted to respond and did not want to muddy this and the immigration issue. This is in no way me calling out FaceKing. I just felt that we should discuss this CONCEPT.

    [SIZE=-1]I am a believer that subconsciously and consciously, issues like race and class are inescapable in our country. Everywhere and in everything we are bombarded by packaged images of people and what they represent. For some people race is always present, because, well, it's always present. [/SIZE]

    I am also a believer that the term "playing the race card" is a gross misnomer.

    [SIZE=-1]Here's a question? Can I really play a card that I can't hide? To me, the concept of "Playing ANY card" means that the card was previously unknown/unseen/hidden (the proverbial Ace up my sleeve) and drawn out at a opportune time for the wielder. It's not most minoriies can be Mariah Carey or Vin Diesel and blend into mainstream American culture with few people noticing or questioning their ethnicity. [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]I can "blend in" over the phone but as soon as you meet me--WHAM--you see that I am somehow "different."[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]
    How, then, do minorities "play a card" which is always seen and is face UP the entire time?

    Does it matter if the Player is a minority or not? Is it easier to target complex issues that have racial components if we first identify one of the confounders as the "race card"?

    Thoughts?
    [/SIZE]
     
  2. dong20

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    Hmm....I thought this was going to be about Halle Berry..:tongue:
     
  3. Shelby

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    Everybody's different.
     
  4. dong20

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    Yes...thank God but there is a misconception that some are more different than others...
     
  5. Lex

    Lex
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    Yeah, I mostly feel different when people remind me how I am different.

    Then, later, they remind me to not make a big deal out of the differences that they themselves, highlight.
     
  6. D_Elijah_MorganWood

    D_Elijah_MorganWood New Member

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    Lex, did something happen recently? You sound re-stung. You ok?
     
  7. dong20

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    No Lex, of course it shouldn't but it still seems to in the eyes of many.

    My comment about Ms Berry was intented to illustrate that by saying what she did when she did (at the Oscars and before) that she was perceived by some as being among them and perpetuated the image of 'minorities' as differerent or even worse as victims. She won an Oscar...great, good for her. What difference does her colour make..none Period.

    Was the Oscar justified on merit or a misguided attempt to correct a perceived historical wrong or both?..The Media should hang their heads in shame. As for Halle...there are times to keep your mouth shut but she walked right into their slavering tabloid jaws!
     
  8. Lex

    Lex
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    I'm good. Little things happen everyday, man. Little things that add up over time.

    I really was just questioning our use of this phrase in our lexicon when, by it's very definition, you can't play a card you can't hide. Nothing more.
     
  9. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    That's exactly it Lex. I've never heard it put quite so simply and accurately. If not remined how I'm perceived by others, I go along imagining I'm defined by my actions and reactions and my ability to love.

    Silly me.
     
  10. jakeatolla

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    Hmmm, something tells me that "The Race Card" isn't about
    Dale Earnhart Jr. and his buddies.....:confused:
     
  11. AMikkell

    AMikkell New Member

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    I think people who use the term 'race card' are generally existentialists, or they just want another reason to marginalize the concerns of minorities. So, it falls to whether they are racist or not.

    The non-racist complaining about it sees it as an excuse. That and nobody wants to hear the complaints of others.

    I would never use the 'race card'. Some other people try to say that racism caused some of my problems, but I don't see it that way.
     
  12. DC_DEEP

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    I must have missed the thread that generated this one. I had always thought that "playing the race card" was a "last resort" tactic used to excuse inexcusable behavior by claiming racist motivation where none exists. If someone drives through my neighborhood with the car stereo so loud it rattles my windows, I don't like it. I have been accused of bigotry because of that - but my issue was not the type of music, just the volume. It just so happens that most of the ones who do that in my area play a particularly ethnic style of music. I would be just as offended if it were Mahler or Quiet Riot or Digeridoo Symphony #1. But the race card gets played, nonetheless.

    I don't care about any person's skin color or native language. I'm kinda like Lex in this regard - there are many of these things that I just don't notice about myself or other people, unless it is pointedly brought to my attention. If someone is intelligent and articulate, and can carry on conversation, I really care not at all about his ethnicity; it is just as much of a non-issue to me as whether he had plain or toasted bread with his breakfast.
     
  13. B_cricketsliar

    B_cricketsliar New Member

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    "If someone is intelligent and articulate, and carry on a conversation, I really care not at all about his ethnicity"

    Forgive me DC Deep, but this type of statement is code language that whites often use to judge who is an Acceptable Black person, and whom is not an acceptable Black person. Would you still converse with Lex, if all his threads were written in Ebonics, and he confessed to having only completed the sixth grade. "Intelligent" and "Articulate" are the code words we use to describe the good Blacks like Bill Cosby, Mae Jamieson, Condeleeza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Paul Robeson, and Tiger Woods. I love and idolize all of the aforementioned people, but white people have this way of communicating to Black's who is acceptable and who is not. Please do not take this as an attack, DC Deep, you're probably not aware of the code speak, when you use it.
     
  14. B_cricketsliar

    B_cricketsliar New Member

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    Lex,

    The Race Card is a Metonym that many people use to stand in for the amnesia induced by adhering to a color-blind philosophy. It always seems that White people believe that since, color/Race, is suppossedly no longer a factor in the way they individually treat Black people, when Black people see Race as a determining factor in the way they are being treated on either the Institutional or Individual level they are "playing the Race card". Again Lex, you are spot on in isolating why we (Black's) don't necessarily see the interjection of Race as an explicit "play". Race will never leave our consciouness as a factor which can, and quite possibly does determine the quality of our most basic experiences day to day. Would'nt are neighboors think we were well educated,refined, and perhaps even more articulate, if they heard us blasting Mozart, as oppossed to latest offering from TI. When waiting to be served at the local Wawa, are we treated with more courtesy, if we speak softly, in a more proper deliberate manner than if we have a loud, Southern like, and or Black sounding voice. The problem is that most Whites don't see these judgement's as necessarily Race-Based, and if they are not making judgements with Race in mind- how can One being Black play a role in being treated differently. We would have to get deep into White Consciousness of Race to really understand what it means to "play" "Race".
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    Cricket, please don't try the "projection psychology" on me. I am not using "codespeak". Actually, "ebonics" is unappealing to me. But it would not matter to me if the person using the above-mentioned "ebonics" were of African or Asian or European or North American or South American or Antarctic or Australian descent. And education has nothing to do with intelligence, so the sixth-grade education is irrelevant. I have met stupid people with PhD education, and I still do not care to spend time with them. I have known and truly enjoyed time spent with people whose education was not beyond 9th grade. And the same goes for white trailer-trash type people and their "hicklish." An accent is fine. Exceptionally poor grammar is unappealing. It has nothing to do with who is "acceptable or not." Please do not talk down to me, and please do not try to educate me on white codespeak. I have read your posts for some time now, and I know that race is an important issue for you. It just happens that for me, it is not. It's that simple.

    Edit: Post Script: When I worked at a medical university, one of my coworkers was a black woman who collected barbie dolls, and along with her two daughters, was active in Girl Scouts. You can't get more "acceptable" than that. But she had what I considered to be a horrible personality, so I chose not to spend much time around her. There was also a student in my department, from Uganda. Although she had a very heavy accent, she liked me, and I liked her, and she spent a lot of time in my office, just talking, between classes. She was teaching me some Luganda, and I gave her some help with English on those rare occasions when she asked for it. Otherwise, we just talked about things in general, usually about her fears of doing well or not well in school. Tell me, which is more "black"... ebonics, or Luganda?
    Ci kati. Oluganda mmanyi lutonotono.
     
  16. Lex

    Lex
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    Let's not go attacking DC Deep over his preference to have conversations with articulate people as if that is somehow a crime. I, too, don't suffer fools well and I don't plan on ever starting.

    The thing is I CAN speak in Black Urban Vernacular (what you call Ebonics) if I choose to. I can also speak Standard American English and I have a working knowledge of German as well.

    I don't want this thread to turn into and us versus them issue (we are our own worst enemy in many regards). I really wanted to explore the idea of this supposed race card. DC's music example is a good one. I don't want to hear ANYONE'S music at such a volume that I can't hear my own when I am in my car. The genre matters not as I like just about every type of music there is. But *I* would like to choose if I listen to it at a given time or not--some person pulluting the environment with their music at high volumes robs me of my freedom of choice in that regard.

    As for there being "code" or not--here is the thing that ALL people (especially) Black people need to understand. There is no such thing as this "Acceptable Black Person." The whole urban stigma that somehow equates speaking well, dressing professionally and being a nerd with "acting white" and/or "selling out" is a HUGE problem and will only correct itself when WE start correcting it.

    If being any or all of the above makes one white, then guess what? I am the Whitest motherfucker on this board. All my clothes fit me properly, I can speak the King's English, I graduated from the top Avdanced College prep high school with a 92.3 average (1 C and 2 B's) and from college with a 3.902 (that would be one B in 126 credits). I have a Master's Degree, an Advanced Certificate, and am about 2 years short of my Doctorate (all A's). Once I am done, I guess I can invest in that Michael Jackson skin treatment.

    Being inarticulate IS unacceptable. Not having etiqutte IS unacceptable. Wearing clothes that are not properly fitted to work IS unacceptable. Being uneducated IS unacceptable. These things and more are unaccpetable regardless of one's race or ethnicity. White trash/rednecks, ghetto negros, illegal immigrants, and other groups who wallow in so-called cultural pride/ignorance to the point of refusing to learn and attain the tools for success in this country IS unacceptable.

    Let's not get it all twisted.
     
  17. B_cricketsliar

    B_cricketsliar New Member

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    Lex,

    I am not one to believe that speaking well, or properly is tantamount to speaking white. Nor, am I an apologist for those who do not have the proper decorum/etiquette in any given situation. As a matter of fact, at many point's in my life I have been judged by other black's as being the White Acting, White Sounding, Wanting to Be White boy on the block. But that is not what I was referring to Lex, when I said who is judged acceptable and who is judged as not acceptable to Whites. It is a "Value" question. "Value" is not always linked to education, economic status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and or your White cultural assimilation index as individual factors- instead there is always an interplay of these factor's and more in determining "Value". Consider Lex, that if you did not take offense to my post- inspite of your Education, the tailored fit of your work attire, and the grandiloquence with which you speak the English word- would your stance be of "Value". Or would you be treated a rabble rouser, playing the "Race" card because you agree that certain "Value" judgments made by Whites in a suppossedly color-blind manner have vestiges of Race/cultural bias towards Blacks as their influence.
     
  18. Lex

    Lex
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    "Value" depends on context.

    My education, attire and etiquette are of immense value to me everyday at work and in school (and in other settings). They grant me instant credibility and acceptance; they give my words, actions and experience greater impact. They help me push through stereotypes that enter people's minds when they think of tall, muscular, black men from urban cities.

    My ability to code-switch and use Black Urban Vernacular is of immense value when I take my son for a haircut and shoot the shit with my barber about neighborhood hoops around the way. Here, my skills enable to to show that I have not "forgotten where I came from" (since everyone is well aware of my education and job) while highlighting my ability to move between worlds. I model the behavior I expect. They help me push through the "selling out" stereotype.

    It's not an "either-or" paradigm, but a "both-and."

    Too few people have the ability to comprehend that.
     
  19. Shelby

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    As long as blacks, gays & women hold on to the belief that they are oppressed instead of striving for individual excellence they relegate themselves to inferior status.

    Sure there's still racism and xenophobia out there. But the best way to eradicate it is to make it look stupid.

    Have you noticed how relatively well some non-white and/or non-males assimilate? Why is that?

    Go ahead and bust on me for not being able to understand from my position of privilege (bs) as a straight white male. Insensitve or not, that's the way I see it.


     
  20. Lex

    Lex
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    Where in this thread did I make mention of oppression or feeling less than anyone?

    I strive for and obtain individual excellence constantly because I want the world of 1.5 GPA having fuckers to know that I got the job and they didn't, not because of Affirmative Action, but because I am one of the brightest, most hardworking, driven people on the East Coast and I am better than they are. Period.

    You never need worry about me thinking anyone is oppressing me or better than me for my being both black and queer.

    As long as straight, Christain white males (credit to Dr. Rock) realize that they can hold privilege by suppressing others, oppression will never be just "a belief" in the heads of women, gays and minorities. It's a reality that few of us can or should deny or ignore.
     
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