this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Unverified Vor... Dammit More Stuff About Race
Goddammit. I was just going to link but that apparently didn't work out so well. Instead there's all this.
I'll keep this on the levelheaded, so let's just calmly point out the various other Whitlock-related posts that have shown up in the blogosphere.
Joey weighs in:
Regardless of who's right and who's wrong, who's racist and who's not racist, Whitlock's earnest belief that racial bias is the true story within the Charlie Weis story is troubling. That an educated, prominent black man immediately sees race should tell us that we need to talk about problems of race far more frequently and far more honestly.
Joey makes a good point that this whole thing has kicked up a lot of words from a lot of people and that certainly means that there's something deep and powerful underneath. It's my contention that Whitlock is the exact wrong person to spur this conversation since his transparent lack of said earnest belief actively hinders honest discussion.
Braves & Birds also checks in with a rundown of the different situations Weis and Willingham found themselves in at this point in their first years. I would also like to point out for those claiming that the media more enthusiastic about Weis than Willingham that, uh, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the caption "What a Difference a Coach Makes"? Wei... Wei... Willingham? Well goddamn.
The other side of the discussion can be found over at BomaniJones.com. Jones (a Whitlock colleague) wonders why it's always black "folks"like Whitlock and Scoop and Alan Grant pointing out racism and never white "people":
So why don't white people write about these things, leaving black folks to do it and, of course, instantly be marginalized as raving racist bastards? Should you not believe this marginalization, give a look to Whitlock's piece on Charlie Weis and then check this chat wrap.
He then glosses over whether or not Whitlock's charge is accurate with this:
If Notre Dame isn't acting with racism in this case, it's surely drowning in hypocrisy.
That's it. The charge is axiomatically assumed to be true. And then, just like Plato's Republic, the unexamined axioms give rise to something thoroughly annoying. In starts the argument ad raceium:
Getting white people to really discuss race is a tricky bag. The problem that might come up with a lot of people is how the persistence of racism flies in the face of all that Protestant Ethic shit. To say that racism is persistent sorta implicitly discount a white person's accomplishments.
Does anyone else notice a persistent air of condescension in these articles? White people who don't think racism is an ever-present scourge in every notable event involving black people and media attention simply can't or won't understand because they're white and have never experienced said scourge. Instead of having a possibly-valid opinion that charges of racism in a particular instance are bunk, the white person who objects to the charges levelled has so much pent up guilt about oppressing black people that he cannot acknowledge their truth without coming to a horrible self-reckoning. In brief:
So we've got two significant groups at play--those that don't know any better and those that do but are fearful of the repercussions.
And therefore blacks win. It's a neat rhetorical construct. Claiming that a specific event shows no evidence of racism is reinterpreted as an argument that no racism exists because racism is like God, you see; it's invisible, incredibly powerful, and everywhere:
But why don't white writers talk about this stuff? It's more about why don't white people talk about this stuff more. Part of it is that I don't think white folks ever have to think of how intricate and nuanced expressions of racism are in this era. Now that it's out of style to be overtly racist, racism manifests itself insidiously and systemically.
Ironic that the "intricacies and nuances" boil down to "all white people are racist all the time, they just can't help it." Nuanced view, that. Thus the mentality that anything negative that happens to black people must be racism. People hate Barry Bonds because he's a black man challenging Ruth/Aaron's homerun records and not because he's a creepy, prickly guy who blames everyone else for his problems. People think Terrell Owens is a jerk because he's an outspoken black man and not because he accuses ex-quarterbacks of homosexuality, holds out every 2.3 nanoseconds, and generally is a jerk. People booed the USA Basketball team because they were black and not because they played like crap.
To people like Whitlock and Jones, The Man is always lifting us white people up:
But I'll close with a bit of a synopsis--to fully address racism must be frightening for a lot of white people. It has to be hard on the ego to acknowledge that one has been helped by privilege after being fed the bullshit about this being a meritocracy.
Here's the flipside of that: boy it must be super for the ego to look on all your accomplishments and say "and I got here despite racism." And it must be nice to look on the plight (and it's a plight, no doubt) of the people you share a skin tone and thus a culture with and chalk it up to the God of Racism. Fully confronting the fact that perhaps the shared culture emphasizes values that are not conducive to economic success must be scary after being fed the bullshit about the man holding you down.
Are either of these passages true? No. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but the way the argument about race is framed in America today the middle is obliterated. Arguments like this only serve to belittle and (flipstyle!) marginalize those who disagree with your point of view and drive the racial wedge even further. Physician, heal thyself.
Cosign from the comments of the Jones post:
In response to a lot of the race talk I find myself having to explain that I don't hate white people, but its assumed whenever a black person talks about racism they automatically hate white people.
If you care to discuss don't bring that weak stuff in the comments that implies that I'm racist, because it immediately makes me not care about your opinion. Address the points and not the man.