Clueless White Woman

July 22, 2008

Can a fortune-telling ban discriminate?

Filed under: cluelessness,stereotypes — by clueless @ 6:51 pm
Tags: ,

A man wants to set up a business, but can’t because of a law in the county that prohibits that kind of business: fortune telling. So he’s suing.

Attorneys for Nick Nefedro, previously of Key West, Fla., say county officials violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and discriminated against his “Roma,” or Gypsy, culture when they refused to give him a business license. Montgomery code dating back to the early 1950s prohibits collecting cash for predicting the future.

“The underlying purpose is to prevent people from being taken advantage of, because it’s a scam,” Clifford Royalty, a lawyer in the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said….

“This legislation, this policy is focused really on the Gypsies,” [Nefedro’s attorney] Amourgis said. “How is what he’s doing different than running a horoscope? Who are they to say that is not fraudulent but my client is?”

I’m not entirely sure what to think.

Part of me is saying, “maybe we should listen to the guy who claims he’s being discriminated against.”

Another part is saying, “psychics are total baloney no matter their ethnicity and he’s playing bullshit” — supported by the allegation that this ban violates his right to free speech (since he can stand about telling the future as much as much as he wants, he just can’t get paid for it). And last time I checked, most psychics (e.g. the 1-900’s, the lady down the block who does palm reading in her house, Sylvia Browne, and so many others) aren’t Gypsies anyway 😛

July 4, 2008

German toy maker is ultra-clueless

No, really, it\'s Obama

No, really, it's Obama


Präsidentschaftskandidaten Barack Obama has a new commemorative doll. Made in Germany. And this is what it looks like.

Feel free to exclaim, “Wait, what?!?

It’s not just the skin tone. It’s the combination of skin tone with the childish fat cheeks. Put dark skin with a baby face and “pickaninny” is what will come to mind for a lot of Americans. (Even if they don’t know what a pickaninny is, which I actually didn’t until recently, they’ll recognize it as how black people were caricatured for years and years…)

And he gave it a flag pin.

A good friend of mine is a political scientist in Germany who specializes in analyzing neo-Nazi groups and looking at bigotry trends. So I figured, hey, who better to ask about German racism than a German who studies racists? His response:

You know, first I read only the article and thought, huh, what is the fuss about? I mean, some guy is making money with selling stupid stuff, and he wasn’t able for whatever reason to get the colour right. Who cares? But then I actually had a look at the pictures and thought, well, now I can understand why someone could find this quite offensive.

I dunno, I’d say that this is primarily cluelessness, but one would have to talk to this guy to really find out. I think racism against black people is not really a hot topic amongst german bigots anyway. They’ll tell you that blacks can dance so well and that they admire that and stuff, but leave it at that, as black people are not something they are really interested in. The colonial past of this country is more or less forgotten, since Germany lost all of it’s colonies (and it never had many colonies anyway) already in WWI – and as a result there are only few black people living in Germany, unlike in France or the UK, which had kept their colonies longer.

So it’s possible that Offermann was being a snickering bigot. And it’s possible that he was being clueless and bumbling. Looking at the other dolls he’s made, I think it’s the latter. Try to guess who this one is…

Guess Who

Guess Who


Give up?

It’s Lady Diana. Blond and Caucasian and in a white dress equals Princess Di.

He’s just really bad — or not bothering — to create a resemblance. He’s dressing stuff up in symbolic clothes and calling it commemorative. (Ratsinger, for example, is identifiable only because he’s dressed in papal regalia and is labelled “Pope”.)

All the kerfuffle and intricacies shown in American media is apparently absent in Germany. What they know there is that a black man is running for President. And how do you show that? A pickaninny in a suit with a flag on his lapel. Obviously.

At least he didn’t show Obama breakdancing.

June 26, 2008

Be my black friend!

Filed under: denial,friendship,racism,stereotypes — by clueless @ 5:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

A couple discussions of race and friendship caught my eye today… first at Resist Racism.

… it occurs to me that worrying that other people might find you racist is a product of racism. Being anxious that people will not accept you when you’ve always been accepted previously is privilege and perhaps projected racism as well.

And here you are losing the ability to be real and genuine, and to have true and genuine relationships. Because if you cannot acknowledge the damage that racism has done, it is going to be very hard for me to accept you as a friend or ally.

I get that. You can’t have an honest conversation — or, really, an honest relationship — with somebody who isn’t accepting fundamental truths.

The second, a bit more sad, at Racialicious

I was suffering from racism paranoia of sorts. A form of self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will, in which I assumed that others were racist, and so I didn’t approach them, befriend them, become close to them, or share as much of myself with them as my friends of color, or even more specifically, my black friends, because I feared the worst. I feared one day they would say something racist or betray my friendship or do something to make me say, “see I told you,’ and regret having befriended them in the first place. And eventually, as my close friend circles became darker and darker in hue or colored by some sort of adversity (i.e. class or sexuality), I recognized that I had placed straight, white, middle class folks somewhere on the perimeter, fulfilling my own expectation in the first place, if not allowing it…. My believing that everyone was racist until proven otherwise was limiting me. It was making me become guarded. It was my way of protecting myself from rejection that wasn’t a given, but that I had experienced enough in the past to make me not want to taste its bitterness ever again.

Well shit, how does a straight white middle-class woman like me make friends with POC? I totally understand why you wouldn’t want to put up with that. It is painful to get to know somebody, enjoy hanging out with them, then suddenly have an ignorant bit of idiocy from them slap you in the face. And I wouldn’t want to do that to somebody that I consider a friend, even unintentionally.

I mean, I’m not looking for a token.
BBF!
But I like meeting people with different backgrounds because then I can learn about where they’re coming from. And we’ve just moved to The South from Indiana… frankly I need new friends down here of whatever color I can get 🙂

June 25, 2008

Durrr

Oh, Nader, Nader, Nader. Come on. As a consumer advocates, you’re helpful. But what is this bullshit?
Durrr

The number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law… Haven’t heard a thing.

Nader also says Obama wants to show he’s not “another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he’s coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it’s corporate or whether it’s simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up.”

So black people (aka poor) care about payday loan crooks and white people care about white corporate and oligarchical strength. Way to lump us all into categories. (Let me guess — Jews care about Israel, Hispanics care about immigration, Asians care about China…)

I’ll confess that part of my white self’s comfort with Obama is that he feels like somebody I could have a conversation with. He’s reasonable, intelligent, articulate, and open-minded. No, he’s not threatening. But I also don’t believe that if he was talking about “black issues”, I’d feel particularly threatened. (Seriously, “oppressed white male”, are you that afraid you won’t measure up if you’re judged only on personal merits instead of skin color? Must suck to be so lacking in self-confidence…)

If you’re going to bitch about a lack of attention to issues for the poor, don’t make it about race. It muddles your point and makes you look clueless, but then why would you stop making yourself look clueless now after all these years…

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