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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectFrom #116
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=30834&mesg_id=30952
30952, From #116
Posted by Nettrice, Tue May-17-05 11:45 AM
I think it applies here, as well:

I just watched an episode of Good Times and Michael was considering moving out, with a white girl (both college students). His mother, a single Black mother in the projects, was quite upset and not just because the girl was white. The girl's WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant-like) parents came over and immediately tried to act Black with exaggerated gestures and speaking slang incorrectly to show they were "down", much to the dismay of the Black people in the room. The disconnect came with the assumption that being in the projects or among Black people required acting "Black" while the Black people were expecting them to be themselves (WASP parents)...and deal with the issue of their young daughter shacking up with a guy.

The reason Black people can understand the "white component" is because they have been trained up in it since entering the world as children, the same as white folks. Usually, Black issues are not a part of this early and ongoing training/experience. It is left out or marginalized, stereotyped even more so than the WASP experience. So how else can white folks know about Black issues? There is more of a benefit to behaving like one who is white and, therefore, more privileged. Thus, for many Black folks, theirs is a very symbiotic existence. Black folks learn how to "switch" while white folks are able to be themselves and not have to adjust in the same way. Many white folks are unable to see a difference or divest from their "class-and-whiteness" privilege.

"The understanding of one's historical and privileged position requires a great deal of political clarity. However, political clarity can never be achieved if one accomodates to a position of ambiguity that usually suppresses one's ideological contradictions."