Daily Archives: May 1, 2014

MFA vs. POC…

Great piece by Junot Diaz in The New Yorker about his experiences with MFA programs.

I remember one young MFA’r describing how a fellow writer (white) went through his story and erased all the ‘big’ words because, said the peer, that’s not the way ‘Spanish’ people talk. This white peer, of course, had never lived in Latin America or Spain or in any US Latino community—he just knew. The workshop professor never corrected or even questioned said peer either. Just let the idiocy ride.

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Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Social Commentary


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The Crucifixion of White People…

Crucifixion, which was how the carpenter reportedly martyred himself, “is a form of slow and painful execution in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead.”

It is also apparently what happens when someone receives any consequences for their racist actions.

First Paula Deen. Then Phil Robertson. And now poor, philandering racist Donald Sterling.

The usual argument is that racism is obviously bad, but perhaps more like wearing white after Labor Day bad and not something worth punishing anyone for so severely or, well, at all. And the first amendment grants all Americans the right to say odious things and suffer no economic repercussions, right? Even if that’s not at all how a capitalist economic system works. I thought Americans loved their capitalism? And unfettered capitalism is colder than the Oregon Coast in February.

Mike Pesca at Slate argued that just because Donald Sterling is a “horrible human being,” he “doesn’t deserve to have his property stripped away.” That’s a frightening image, but Sterling — or Deen or Robertson — did not break any law on the books that put them on trial after which they were convicted and sentenced to penury. No, the “invisible hand” of capitalism swept in and slapped them upside the head.

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life, he said he would “urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.”

The Board of Governors—which consists of ownership representatives from the league’s teams—can remove an owner with a three-quarters majority vote. Silver says he “fully expects” that the owners will vote to remove Sterling.

I suppose it’s worth clarifying that neither Silver nor the NBA Board of Governors are representatives of the U.S. government. And the terms upon which Sterling is “being stripped of his property” are all contractually valid. Oh, and wait, he is not *losing* the property. He will walk away from this a wealthy man.

This would also happen to the CEO of a private company who made horrible statements that later went public. Was Sterling “set up”? No, that’s the most misogynistic argument possible. I recall the morals clauses that would cost a gay teacher his or her job at a Catholic School. If a gay “lifestyle” is incompatible to teaching at a Catholic School, I presume being an inveterate racist might prove problematic in a business where the majority of your staff is black. But empathy in these situations is almost always oriented toward the poor, put-upon white racists and the offended blacks must simply endure.

I mean, what else would explain the belief that Sterling, once the demon was fully out of his racist box, could function as owner of the Clippers? What about the ability of the Clippers to maintain and recruit staff? This is a sensible business decision but the fact that it’s viewed as more than that or that Sterling could ever remain in his role without any consequences is further evidence of the invisibility of blacks in this country.

Finally, it is telling that in America, its Christians equate “crucifixion” so strongly with the loss of money and baptism with torture.

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Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Social Commentary


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