Monday, July 09, 2007

Troubled over the bridge

We didn’t get much in the way of commentary regarding that 'Fuck White People' graffito last week.

Is it because we’re all white here and saying what we really think is dangerous? What do we really think?

Here’s what some of you said in Fourth of July conversations about it last week:

“It pisses me off – why do they have to wreck nice things?”
“Some obviously disturbed teenager.”
“It’s scary.”
Let’s turn it around.

What if it some poor, misguided white kid had written Fuck [insert racial epithet of your choice here]?

Aside from the fact that the media would be involved – 'Racial slur discovered on bike trail in Batavia, film at 11' – how would we react?

Because you know the folks most offended by the racial epithet of your choice wouldn’t be so quiet about it.

So why are we so quiet when it comes to white racism? Should we be? Does white racism even exist?

Or are we quiet because we know that on some level the FWP graffiti artist is probably right to feel that way?
I am troubled.

Mostly because the idea that some idiot had wrecked the bridge never occurred to me.

There was a time when it would have. When the fact that someone would destroy the pristine clean of a walk in the woods would’ve had me writing letters and organizing a clean up team.

But upon seeing the “Fuck White People” graffito, my brain quickly skipped over outrage and went straight for figuring out the motivation for doing something like that.

Is it possible to feel like you’ve gained and lost something all at once?

Because that’s where I’m at with the bridge.
I am listening to: The Strokes – You Only Live Once
I am reading: Writing Home by Alan Bennett
And I am: Troubled


Posolxstvo said...

< smartass >Looking closer, it looks as though it is possible that it says "Fuckunite People" which could mean that it's an advertisement for some new form of polymer mannequin. "Fuckunite People -- 90% more realistic looking than plaster." < / smartass >

Regarding white racism. It exists. Not all white folks are bigots and supremacists, but I did have a roommate for a while in the military who did not know me, did not like me, and my good friend Aaron (who is black) told me it was because I am white, and perhaps there was an assumption that because I am white, I am a racist. That worried me. Because I can't change that I am white. But I also relished the opportunity to feel what it is like to have someone judge me on the basis of my skin color. I think it has altered my thinking on matters of race ever since.

On destruction of public property. Yeah, this pisses me off. Not just because of the destruction of property though, which can be fixed, with enough time and budget and attention. Having three kids, it pisses me off that I can't control what they are being exposed to. For example, I'm not sure I'd want my youngest to use that bridge as reading practice because it introduces concepts that I am not sure he's ready to process. Maybe I'm selling him short. Maybe "Fuck White People" would make perfect sense to an 8 year old brain. But I doubt it.

dr. detroit said...

Racism is so 70's, 80's and 90''s out...No one cares about Racism anymore...except Al Sharpton and of course....Hedy

Hedy said...

And of course, the FWP graffiti guy. Or not.

Dave said...

Racism be it based in hatred of white, black, asian, muslim or other culture, exists. And, I know that I'm broadening the definition by extending the definition to culture rather than race. To my mind they are the same thing when it comes to fear and hate.

My bet would be that the tag, of sorts, was done by kids of the teenage variety. Even if that's the case, it is something to be concerned with. But, organizing to clean up the result doesn't solve the problem. How to do that? Don't know. One person at a time is my best guess. So far that doesn't show promise.


I found this article and thought hmmm, perhaps we too need a "funeral" of some sorts..the w-word: » News » Michigan

N-word is put to rest
July 9, 2007



A horse-drawn carriage pulled a pine casket with a black wreath on top through the streets of Detroit this morning.

Inside the casket: the N-word.

Thousands of people gathered in Hart Plaza on the city’s riverfront for the symbolic funeral of the derogatory word. The burial was part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s national convention being held in downtown Detroit this week.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm joined Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond to celebrate the word’s hoped-for demise.

“Good riddance to this vestige of slavery and racism, and say hello to a new country that invests in all its people,” Granholm said. She said she was proud the event was taking place in Michigan.

During the service, Kilpatrick urged black men to stand tall and stop disrespecting themselves and black women.

“You can’t just bury the N-word. You have to bury all the nonsense that comes with it,” Kilpatrick said. “Good riddance. Die N-word. We don’t want to see you around here no more."

The N-word has been used as a slur against black people for more than a century. It remains a symbol of racism, but also is used by some blacks when referring to other blacks, especially in comedy routines and rap and hip-hop music.

Public discussion on the use of the word and other racially insensitive remarks increased last year following a tirade by “Seinfeld” actor Michael Richards, who used it repeatedly while on stage at a Los Angeles comedy club. The debate heated up earlier this year after talk show host Don Imus used derogatory language to describe black members of the Rutgers University womens basketball team.

The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and others have challenged the entertainment industry and the American public to stop using the N-word and other racial slurs. NAACP National Board Chairman Julian Bond repeated the call during the opening address Sunday night for the 98th annual convention, which runs through Thursday.

“While we are happy to have sent a certain radio cowboy back to his ranch, we ought to hold ourselves to the same standard,” Bond said. “If he can’t refer to our women as ‘hos,’ then we shouldn’t either.”

Honorary pallbearers at the funeral were hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow; R&B singer Eddie Levert; Daryl Matthews, general president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and Olrick Johnson Jr., a former NFL player.

Blow said he has been a rapper and in hip-hop music for about 35 years, has recorded more than 150 songs and has never used the N-word.

“Today, I’m truly happy at a funeral,” Blow said. “I’m living proof that it’s possible to rap or do hip-hop and not offend anyone.”