Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged Race

57 notes

On racial slurs: Still racist with an “a”

Rebloggable by request:

So, my boyfriend and I just got into an argument because he claims that him (a white man) using ‘n****’ isn’t problematic. That essentially ‘n****’ isn’t bad and that ‘even black guys use it’ so it isn’t a big deal and that it doesn’t hold any negative connotation. I’m trying to keep my cool, but the more he talks the angrier I get. Help?


Meg at Cognitive Dissonance:

He is white, using a racist slur, and thinks it’s OK. Where’s the debate?

Wait, are you dating Lisa Lampanelli? She thinks it’s a-OK too.

Guess what? It’s not. Dion the Socialist wrote an excellent post about this issue, based on Lampanelli’s recent use of the word.

Here’s the thing: Your boyfriend is a white guy using a word that once sat only in the dominion of the oppressor’s vocabulary as a slur to put the oppressed, enslaved peoples in their place and to remind them later of their oppression. But it’s OK for him to use it because the same people who were are institutionally oppressed still today use it, often as a slang term to recapture it for themselves? Did I miss anything?

Nope, sorry, your boyfriend is supporting overt racism with his colorblind bullshit argument. Show him this, and he can message me about how we’re all the same and it’s just a word, blah blah blah. Or better yet, ask him if he’d strike up a conversation with a black person he’d never met before and drop that into casual conversation.

If he says yes, he’s either lying, or a truly ignorant, rotten person. You have every right to be angry about this. I’m not going to mince words here. You’re either on the side of tacit oppression or you’re fighting it. Guess which side he’s on?



Filed under anon ask rebloggable race racism dear white people please stop using the n-word dion the socialist lisa lampanelli oppression institutionalized racism

128 notes

On racism, rap, and cultural appropriation

Rebloggable by request:

I have a question. I never liked rap until I heard Macklemore. And I listened to some other stuff, and so the only rap I like is by white people. I wrote an informative persuasion speech for my Public Speaking class about how black people started rap but white people made it better because it’s not all gangster. I got docked for points because my teacher (a black prof) said it was racist, that it’s in the syllabus hate speech won’t be tolerated, and it’s not a persuasion speech. Who’s right?

image Anonymous

Meg at Cognitive Dissonance:

You are definitely in the wrong here. So. Very. Wrong.

Your opinion is just that — an opinion. If you’re doing an informative persuasion speech, I’m going to guess your professor wanted you to cite sources. I don’t even know what sources you’d cite to suggest that white people were able to take rap and make it better because it’s not “all gangster.” I’m gonna guess Stormfront. It was Stormfront, right?

And that leads to the whole racism thing…

Yes, your professor is right. Let me quote another white rapper, Eminem, as our starting point:

“I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley / to do Black Music so selfishly / and use it to get myself wealthy (Hey) / there’s a concept that works” — “Without Me”

There’s a long history of cultural appropriation with Black music and culture, whether it’s rap, blues, rock n’ roll, etc. (Harlem Shake anyone?) What do you think birthed rock n’ roll? It just fell out of the sky like manna from White Jesus? Bullshit. I encourage you to pick up this book, The Soul of Rock ‘N Roll: A History of African Americans in Rock Music.

Now, on to rap. First off, I’ll help you with the whole hip hop white people like thing. Brian over at Cats and Beer complied a list of hip hop songs for white people and damn, if it isn’t the truth from what I’ve seen with white people who say, “Oh yeah, I LOVE rap!”

In all seriousness, examine what you’re saying up there. You like rap that white people have done because it’s “not all gangster” — did you stop to consider that perhaps the music you hear from people of color has something to do with their real-life and their struggles? Yeah, there’s gangsta rap, but check your privilege at the door anon — I’m guessing your objections don’t come from growing up in and seeing that as a part of everyday life.

However, some rap and hip hop IS problematic itself with the derogatory language towards women, LGBTQ people, and Black women in particular, but there’s also the same degradation in rock music — largely by white men, and for decades. On my radio show, we came to the conclusion that Death Cab for Cutie’s, “I Will Posses Your Heart” is the ultimate “nice guy” song:

“You reject my advances and desperate pleas / I won’t let you let me down so easily / So easily”

Let me? How sweet of you Ben Gibbard, let me have hundreds of your twee lil’ babies!

Dr. Edward Rhymes wrote an excellent piece about rap being scapegoated by the dominant culture in America called “Caucasian please! America’s Cultural Double Standard for Misogyny and Racism.” An excerpt:

In this composition I will not be addressing the whole of hip-hop and rap, but rather hardcore and gangsta rap. It is my assertion that the mainstream media and political pundits — right and left — have painted rap and hip-hop with a very broad brush. Let me be perfectly clear, hardcore and gangsta rap is not listened to, watched, consumed or supported in my home and never has been. I will not be an apologist for anything that chooses to frame the dialogue about Black women (and women in general) and Black life in morally bankrupt language and reprehensible symbols.

In the wake of MSNBC’s and CBS’s firing of Don Imus, the debate over misogyny, sexism and racism has now taken flight — or submerged, depending on your point of view. There are many, mostly white, people who believe that Imus was a fall guy and he is receiving blame and criticism for what many rap artists do continually in the lyrics and videos: debase and degrade Black women. A Black guest on an MSNBC news program even went as far as to say, “Where would a 66 year-old white guy even had heard the phrase nappy-headed ho” — alluding to hip-hop music’s perceived powerful influence upon American culture and life (and apparently over the radio legend as well) — and by so doing gave a veneer of truth to the theory that rap music is the main culprit to be blamed for this contemporary brand of chauvinism.

However, I concur with bell hooks, the noted sociologist and black-feminist activist who said that “to see gangsta rap as a reflection of dominant values in our culture rather than as an aberrant ‘pathological’ standpoint, does not mean that a rigorous feminist critique of the sexist and misogyny expressed in this music is not needed. Without a doubt black males, young and old, must be held politically accountable for their sexism.

Yet this critique must always be contextualized or we risk making it appear that the behavior this thinking supports and condones — rape, male violence against women, etc. — is a black male thing. And this is what is happening. Young black males are forced to take the ‘heat’ for encouraging, via their music, the hatred of and violence against women that is a central core of patriarchy.”

How about that for an informative persuasion speech?

Not liking rap isn’t racist. I dig Macklemore — “Same Love” and “Thrift Shop” are catchy as hell. Saying the only rap you like is by certain artists who are white, well, it’s awkwardly walking a fine line and some people will assume you’re racist. Claiming white people took rap and made it better? Fuck, anon, you should be grateful you just got points taken off. You assume that rap by people of color is just gangster? Yeah, that’s racist but sadly, I bet there are a few in your class that agree with you. Again, your professor is right. It wasn’t a persuasion speech. It was (likely) racist. I say likely because I obviously didn’t hear it, but I seriously can’t think of a way in which it wouldn’t be racist.

And lest you think all rap by white artists is a-OK, please, let me remind you of 3OH!3’s “Don’t Trust Me” — which holds the honor of being the only song I have ever refused to play as a request on my own radio show.

In conclusion, check out Sarah Jones, “Your Revolution”:

Hopefully you’ve learned something here, and your next speech is just a simple how-to instructional speech. May I suggest how not to be an ignorant tool as the topic? Re-read the above if you have any questions.

Class dismissed.



Filed under racism music rebloggable Anon cultural appropriation Black music hip hop rap culture are you kidding me? Edward Rhymes Rock n roll Blues race Harlem Shake

76 notes

This Court doesn’t like to get involved in — in racial questions such as this one. It’s something that can be left — left to Congress. The problem here, however, is suggested by the comment I made earlier, that the initial enactment of [the Voting Rights Act of 1965] in a — in a time when the need for it was so much more abundantly clear was — in the Senate, there — it was double-digits against it. And that was only a 5-year term.

Then, it is reenacted 5 years later, again for a 5-year term. Double-digits against it in the Senate. Then it was reenacted for 7 years. Single digits against it. Then enacted for 25 years, 8 Senate votes against it.

And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same. Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this.

I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, discussing Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in oral arguments for Shelby County v. Holder, Feb. 27, 2013.

Why does this matter?

As Suevon Lee explains Aug. 30, 2012 for ProPublica: “A single provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been playing a key role on the election front this year. Section 5 has blocked photo voter-ID laws, prohibited reduced early-voting periods in parts of Florida and just Tuesday barred new redistricting maps in Texas. It’s the reason South Carolina is in federal court this week to try to convince a three-judge panel its photo voter-ID law will not disenfranchise minorities. It’s the reason that Texas went to trial on the same issue last month — and on Thursday, lost.

Not surprisingly, then, Section 5 is increasingly the target of attack by those who say it is outdated, discriminatory against Southern states and unconstitutional.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor smacked down the idea that Section 5 was a racial entitlement, and reminded us all that the right to vote is just that — a right, not a racial entitlement, no matter how desperately some jurisdictions and justices may want to reverse that fact.

Filed under Antonin Scalia Race racism politics Voting Rights Act of 1965 Alabama Shelby County Section 5 voting voting is a right discrimination Supreme Court SCOTUS

4,409 notes

These wonderful infographics about reproductive health were recently released by The Guttmacher Institute, a foundation which aims to advance knowledge of reproductive health worldwide. They also bust myths surrounding abortion and reproductive health with this super amazing tool called “science.”

These infographics show the often sad realities of abortion in America — for many facing unintended pregnancy, it’s a nearly unattainable, expensive procedure with barriers that worsen for those who are in poverty or are people of color.  

Filed under reproductive rights politics policy law race income class abortion pro-choice anti-choice gender sexual health reproductive health

58 notes

The eighth-grade students gathering on the west lawn of the state capitol in Sacramento were planning to lunch on fried chicken with California’s new governor, Ronald Reagan, and then tour the granite building constructed a century earlier to resemble the nation’s Capitol. But the festivities were interrupted by the arrival of 30 young black men and women carrying .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns, and .45-caliber pistols.

The 24 men and six women climbed the capitol steps, and one man, Bobby Seale, began to read from a prepared statement. “The American people in general and the black people in particular,” he announced, must “take careful note of the racist California legislature aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless Black people have begged, prayed, petitioned, demonstrated, and everything else to get the racist power structure of America to right the wrongs which have historically been perpetuated against black people The time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.”

Seale then turned to the others. “All right, brothers, come on. We’re going inside.” He opened the door, and the radicals walked straight into the state’s most important government building, loaded guns in hand. No metal detectors stood in their way.

It was May 2, 1967, and the Black Panthers’ invasion of the California statehouse launched the modern gun-rights movement.

The Atlantic's Adam Winkler, “The Secret History of Guns

A ridiculously pro-gun fellow I happen to know posted this article on his Facebook page with the comment, “THE NRA IS NOTING [sic] LIKE THE BLACK PANTHERS AND THIS IS LIBEL/SLANDER AGAINST EVERY NRA PERSON BECAUSE IT SAID THE NRA SUPPORTS GUN CONTROL. STOP THE LIBERL [sic] MEDIAS LIES!”

I suggest sending this article to every NRA member you know. They should know their history, yeah?

And this article discusses a chapter in gun history that the left often chooses to ignore — similar gun control laws were historically used to ensure people of color could not own a weapon and to reinforce white supremacy at the barrel of a gun. 

Filed under race National Rifle Association NRA guns politics law Black Panthers Bobby Seale Huey Newton policy history

43 notes

"I’m Dreaming" by the brilliant Randy Newman. It’s a satirical song completely backhanding the racist rhetoric surrounding many of President Obama’s detractors and their objections.

A sampling of the lyrics:

George Washington was a white man
Adams and Jefferson too
Abe Lincoln was a white man, probably
And William McKinley, the whitest of them all
Was shot down by an immigrant in Buffalo
And a star fell out of heaven

I’m dreaming of a white President
Just like the ones we’ve always had
A real live white man
Who knows the score
How to handle money or start a war
Wouldn’t even have to tell me what we were fighting for
He’d be the right man
If he were a…

Suddenly, Mittens.

Bravo, Randy Newman. Download the track for free here.

Filed under Randy Newman Politics satire race racism bigotry GOP I'm dreaming music white white president right-wing

13 notes

Lupe Fiasco sparks debate with new video for “Bitch Bad”

I’m curious what people think. Lupe Fiasco’s video includes men and women of color putting on blackface before a minstrel show with images from the 1930s projected in the background. A dedication at the end states the video is in memory of Paul Robeson and other black actors “who endured the humiliation of blackface.” The video itself is commentary on stereotypes in hip-hop, and how these affect young black children.

Is it effective? I would argue yes, though my point of view is always coming from a place of inherent white privilege. I can never know what it is like to grow up seeing women who look like me portrayed in that exact manner — rarely are white women portrayed similarly to women of color in a rap video. It reminds me of Bamboozled, which was directed by Spike Lee.

So I’m interested in other folks’ thoughts on this video: Effective, offensive, thought-provoking, etc?

But I swear, if I find someone howling about how it’s okay for Lupe to do blackface, but not for me and my lily-white frat bros, I will lose my shit.

Filed under Race Lupe Fiasco music Bitch Bad racism politics sterotype

10 notes

Anonymous asked: im a friend of this whole thing and literally you guys are taking this to a new extreme. ive asked around to even the HIGHSCHOOLERS and their PARENTS and they have never heard of the "black face" so to take this and exaggerate it is really stupid. and no one even mentioned that it was racist until an hour later. so you can stop now because she is the most innocent person and didn't know that it would be taken offensively

Wait wait wait…

Never heard of the “black face”?!

I like how you’re putting this in quotes as if it doesn’t exist…

You’re trolling, right? You asked all their PARENTS with a capital “OMG!” and no one knew?

Sigh… We’re not exaggerating, pardner. Truly. Calling out racism is becoming a regular public service around these parts. And by these parts, I mean the internets.

Start here. Then here. And finish with a little Dion here.

If you’re being an ignorant racist on the internet, wouldn’t you want to know? Even if it were an hour later? And wouldn’t you want to educate yourself?

Now, take those links to the HIGHSCHOOLERS and their PARENTS and be a light of education in your community versus an obstinate drip trying to snuff it out.



Filed under anonymous ask ask box dionthesocialist racism race seriously

66 notes

I called it. We’ve moved on to the reverse racism part of the discussion.

Why is silly piece of fluff @katieisperfect relevant? Because she’s blaming California schools for not teaching her ignorant ass about blackface, and now she’s busy justifying it.

I just can’t. Next, she’ll be having an affirmative action bake sale.

But in all seriousness, since this is apparently a major big huge life-altering fat fucking deal for precious snowflakes, here’s a great piece on how to actually oppress white people.

And this is definitely not the first time our special snowflake has been, uh, insensitive. Check this out from just 2 days ago:

Haha, crying black girl to illustrate my White Whine! Here’s where she jacked the image:

Pretty sure she’s not crying over wasted ice cream, Katie. Maybe California schools taught you about human trafficking? No?

It’s okay, your friends will come to your defense!


Filed under reverse racism reverse racism isn't a thing are you serious politics race white people racism I can't