Neither Ignorant nor Stupid, but Sociopathic

"...And you sit there when they're putting the rope around your neck saying, 'Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they do.' As long as they've been doing it, they're experts at it, they know what they're doing."

~ Malcolm X, 1965
So I'm reading about Shirley Sherrod and the rest of the dramatis personae, when I come across the whole Mark Williams sitch.  Normally, I'd do a good a drapto file on him or some such, but I find that how people are describing him is a symptom of a much greater problem.

People...stop describing the likes of Williams, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, and Coulter as "ignorant".  Or "stupid."  They're neither.  They're not even crazy.  Furthermore, "ignorant" has been around since I was kid, but instead of it dying and being replaced with a more appropriate adjective, even more people are using it.  Talk about retching at an overused - and extremely inaccurate - term.

These folks know what they're doing and saying.  They know it's wrong.  But they're doing it nonetheless - just like their ancestors did.  What's that saying...the more things change, the more they stay the same?  When you call people like this ignorant - and I bet you it was white folks who popularized and perpetuated the usage - you're basically letting them off the hook.  It's like you're snapping your fingers, shaking your head, and saying, "Aw, shucks darn.  If only you knew better...you'd be a wonderful person."

Uh...no.  They already do know better, and they don't care.  And they're awful people, through and through.  Whether out of genuine belief, or the need for fame, or the desire for money, they honestly think their actions are okay.  They believe the ends justify the means.  So to say they're draptoresponsic would be a pointless understatement at this juncture.

The word people of color are searching for - and that most white people are desperately avoiding - is sociopathic.  Once more, kids: Tim Wise and Dr. Robert Jensen warned their fellow white people of sociopathy as a byproduct of white privilege and institutionalized racism.  These people, and the millions like them, are operating without essential human parts, the most integral of all being the conscience.  They are soulless and lacking; they are empty and utterly defective.  Oh...they were born human, but then white privilege conditioned the "human" out of them.

They don't care.  Their fans and followers don't care.  Just like their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, all those before them...they don't care.  They're doing wrong and they know it's wrong, but white privilege tells them to be comfortable and confident enough to keep doing it because they know formalized white supremacy will keep them safe from consequences.

So people, use the right term.  And then follow the correct procedure in dealing with these people, which is don't.  Do not speak or go near such people unless you absolutely have to.  You cannot talk sense into people like these, and if you're a person of color, it's not your job to do so anyway.  White America will never see true progress until it finally cleans up its own house once and for all.
"I have a choice: I can be white — that is, I can refuse to challenge white supremacy or centrality — or I can be a human being. I can rest comfortably in the privileges that come with being white, or I can struggle to be fully human. But I can’t do both. Though the work is difficult, the choice for those of us who are white should be easy."

"People of color are going to liberate themselves from white supremacy - bet on that.  The question is, who's going to liberate us?"

Comments

  1. I loved when you wrote the quote from Malcom X, I heard that speech and I completely loved it. But overall you are right, any time a white politician or a person of power says something outright racist the media covers it for a second and never again, or simply backs the person when they give a sorry not even half hearted apology. If ain't one thing, its another. For many white's they cannot give up the privilege cause they depend so heavily upon it. They always have and they always will.

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  2. I agree with you in that the word, "ignorant" is overused and also let's these people off the hook, because to be ignorant means that one is simply unaware or doesn't know better. These folks most certainly do. They are cunning and kniving individuals who have mastered the art of information manipulation.

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  3. This post, like the last one is for the benefit of BW. This is NOT a hint for White folks to reform themselves. We've been asking that of them for the past 400 years. They've had more than enough time, chances and notice. After a while, you have to come to a conclusion that either WP are too stupid to understand or that they just don't care and don't want to change. Either way, ain't shit PoC can do about that as it's totes out of our control.

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  4. Well, the only thing we can and should do is protect ourselves. Understand we're dealing with an abusive relationship here. And so much of White racism follows the same lines and uses the same strageties of abusers, especially gaslighting ("You didn't see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt." "Who are you gonna believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?") and continually rewriting history.

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  5. When our schools were integrated, the first thing they did was denounce Malcolm X. They failed in their efforts to convert or to assimilate us.

    White America will never see true progress until it finally cleans up its own house once and for all.

    A cold day in the fiery depths of hell will manifest itself long before this happens. I guess we can hope and pray as long as we don't hold our breaths in the process.

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  6. A cold day in the fiery depths of hell will manifest itself long before this happens.

    Well, yeah...that's kinda what I was going for.

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  7. oh my Gaslighting is a completely accurate depiction of what is happening to us in America

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  8. Psychologist Martha Stout states that sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths are often cruel, manipulative, or conniving, and are often convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. When coupled with the personal charm that can characterize sociopaths, many who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perception

    Thanks, MG!!!!!

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  9. Thank you for this Ankh. My family has warned me all my life about "crazy white folks" and I forget their lessons to my own detriment.

    Sociopath is The Word for these people.

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  10. @ Lenoxave

    Amazing, isn't it? On the one you have white folks insisting that they - as a group - have changed. On the other hand you've got your older relatives shaking their head.

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  11. Re: collective sociopathology.

    Funny, one of the title characters in my play uses that exact same terminology.

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  12. The more I think about this, the more I realise how true it is. White people are experts at making a fuss about how anti-racist they are, how they hate groups like neo-Nazis and the KKK.....they do this, and in the very next breath they will tell some fucked up joke about watermelon or talk in a 'Black' accent or some other hurtful, racist action, and will laugh at you and tell you you're crazy or hypersensitive or playing the race card or whatever other ish when you call them out. And they will still insist that they mean no harm and that you're still friend. Fucking sociopaths.

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  13. Re: collective sociopathology.

    Funny, one of the title characters in my play uses that exact same terminology.


    You want to do a guest subject on the topic?

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  14. @Ankhesen:

    It wouldn't be a guest post so much as a scene from my play.

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  15. Either way, you've got my email.

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  16. I used to think that whites were heavily brainwashed and just did not know any better, but the kind of moral arguments they make - and even the way they apologize - show that they know full well what is going on. The truly clueless and innocent do not talk like how they do.

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  17. @Abagond

    oh they are very sophisticated with their manipulation and with their fake innocence

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  18. The truly clueless and innocent do not talk like how they do.

    No, they most assuredly do not.

    Creepy, isn't it?

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