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Tim Wise

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Feb. 21st, 2002 | 09:50 pm
mood: Interesting

Yesterday, caltech's social activism speaker series had tim wise talk about racism and it's interaction with september 11th. A rather interesting talk.

He deconstructed a couple of the common catch phrases that have been tossed around. "Now we know what it's like to be attacked for who we are." and "United we stand".

The first is the more obvious, so perhaps all of the african-americans, latinos, and other immigrents lynched, harrased, and abused weren't being attacked for who the were? Or women who are trained to always be aware of their vulnerability to rape and abuse? They're not being attacked for who they are? Or not to forget the gays, lesbians, transgendered, and bisexual people who've been oppresed throughout history?

Pretty much the group the "we" refers to must be the heterosexual white male property owner upper class types who've been doing most of the oppressing. Now they know what it's like to be attacked for who they are. The rest of us have been dealing with violence for quite a bit longer.

The other phrase "United we stand". Well, we're not actually united, we're a fractured diverse community with differing levels of power, privledege, and priorities. And if people point out something they feel like dissenting about they're labeled "Unamerican" and "Terrorists". So we're united as long as you agree with the rich white property owning men.

As an aside though the original "We" the people in the constitution of the united states aparently ment white male land owners. I think in this day and age the property that's actually most important is stock in limited liability corporations.

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from: soulsong
date: Feb. 22nd, 2002 03:51 am (UTC)
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That first 'catchphrase' is pretty disgusting viewed from my perspective. Even if "we" only refers to white males, it's still ridiculous to say that 9/11 had anything to do with who the Americans *are*. Americans arent hated for who they are, like gays, blacks, trannies, hispanics etc, but for the amoral oppression they wreak on those weaker than themselves. If white America now thinks it knows how it feels to be oppressed for who they are, then it just adds to the evil perceived by the rest of the world. I am beginning to understand now how Hitler implemented his policies with the unbelievable acquiescence of the German people. Nationalism is the ultimate brand. Unfortunately there's no-one left who could stand against an American Fascist state. I fear America so much more now than I ever feared the USSR.

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[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

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from: artemii
date: Feb. 22nd, 2002 05:41 am (UTC)
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oh, the "now we know what it feels like to be attacked thing" infuriates me. many countries lose more than 5,000 people per day, some from policies implemented and/or enforced by america.

i also think you're underestimating the ability of people to not see themselves as oppressed. for example i've met many women and queer people who argued that they are not discriminated against or oppressed in any way and were offended when others either said the others were or suggested perhaps they were and just didn't notice.

and of course the "we" in the constitution was white male landowners (the only people who could own land). everyone else was superfluous other than to provide children and/or labor.

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