This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Reading the Last Post

you might be thinking to yourself that I'm grumpy this morning. I'd agree, but only after dropping the "this morning." Things that make me angry:

1) Bryant Gumbel not realizing he's whiter than me, and saying this:
Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don't like them and won't watch them ... Because they're so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, when we can move on to March Madness -- for God's sake, let the games begin." (quote from NewsBusters)

So, let me get this straight -- blacks are better athletes than whites? Hey, there's also a "paucity" of Mexicans, Africans, Israelis, Arabs, Tongans, and just about any other warm-weather peoples, but I guess we shouldn't worry about them. They don't play sports. Hey, there are plenty of reasons to not like the Winter Olympics, and he even touches on a huge one (figure skating -- ugh), but a lack of a cerain race of people is not one of them. What does this say about Bryant Gumbel's day-to-day mindset that he can't watch a sporting event if it features only whites and Asians?

I mean, at least some Americans can trace their ancestry to Europe, can't they? That's the real reason we were ever interested in the Winter Olympics. I thought we were all Americans here. I guess some Americans mean more to him than others, based solely on the color of their skin.

I'm also guessing that B. Gumbel hasn't been to a GOP convention in a while, because he apparently thinks it's nothing but cold-looking nordic people on skis and Asians in skin-tight lycra. Plus, the GOP invites every black person they can find so as to not appear racist. Ahh, speaking of that word:

2) Main Entry: racĀ·ism
Pronunciation: 'rA-"si-z&m also -"shi-
Function: noun
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
(cut-and-pasted from Brittannica Online)

With that in mind, get a load of this post, which rightly takes issue with Mr. Gumbel's defeatest attittude towards blacks in the Winter Olympics while also advancing the lie we were all taught in college about how black people can't be racist because they've redefined racism to exclude themselves. Every time I read or hear something like...
Racism is not just using a racial slur. Racism is when a system of people use power and politics to oppress another group of people. When we look at racism we need to see an oppression experienced by black and minority ethnic groups predominantly on the basis of their skin color, and of their culture and identity. Blacks, no matter how hard we try, no matter how many chemical peels or nose jobs, cannot remove the hue from our skin.

...I spit glue. Examples of "loaded" words in the above paragraph, or words that can have a wide (almost infinite, actually) variety of meanings based upon their context and who is using them: system. people. power. politics. opress. group. oppression. experienced. minority. predominantly. culture. identity. We're stuck in postmodern hell here, where nothing means anything unless we can make you feel guilty enough! Whatever happened to being a nation of individuals? Is that something we only believe in when it's convenient?

It is true that blacks in the USA have experienced more racism than whites, a lot more. It's easier to grow up and succeed in this country as a white person than a black one. However, turning racism into a political and institutional term (rather than the universal, commonly accepted, dictionary-supported term we've all come to agree upon) cheapens those facts by falsely claiming that anti-black racism is the only racism that counts. By making it institutional rather than personal, they have completely stripped the term of its meaning (see Brittannica above), and therefore its power.

Opression because of race is not racism -- it is a racist act caused by racism. Racism is an attitude and a belief, not an occurrence. If you stop the oppression, you haven't stopped the racism. Try and think of a sentence that better describes the state of race relations in America in 2006 -- go ahead, I dare you.

What really happened: The civil rights movement got hijacked somewhere along the line by people who wanted to be free to hate white people without being called racist. Therefore racism became an institutional thing to them, and they were free to think, say, and do (riots anyone?) whatever they please. Some have become blacks first, then Americans. Now, what do we call those who are whites first, then Americans? You know, the people who can't root for a black American athlete because of his skin color? That's right -- racist pigs. I hope you now see the problem with this whole thing. A racist pig may be part of an institution, or he may just be some guy in front of his TV set -- either way, his defining characteristic as it relates to this discussion is his attitude. This is what we are fighting: Racist pigs of all colors, even those who host news shows and can't stand to watch people on TV who don't look (sorta) like them. Anyone with me?


  • At 10:01 AM, Blogger the professional said…

    michael, have you skimmed the thread of comments attached to the Greasy Guide post on BlogCritics? i can't decide whether this Greasy Guide blogger or Bryant Gumble is more ridiculous.

    but really, it's almost comical the way that all these strangers have decided to get all riled up and yell at each other via comments on a blog. it's all the same race rhetoric that everyone has already heard, only half as literate in this one-step-above-text-messaging form. i almost wanted to post a really long, angry comment about the grammatical errors in GG's original piece -- starting with the to/too problem in the first graf -- just to see if all these blogcommenters would call me a racist.

    could have been awesome.

  • At 8:57 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    I did not originally read any comments past half the first one (the one that starts with the exasperated, "Where to begin?") Since then, I've gone back to see the insanity. Having a low tolerance for such things, I just decided to let it be. You're right, though -- one step above text messaging is a good way to describe it.

  • At 6:29 AM, Blogger Lord Bif said…

    Well, reading some of this stuff now I can say that I cannot be racist either. I myself hold no position of power that would allow me to oppress others.

    P.S. Mike I moved my blog so you can find utter dullness now at


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