11.11.2015

#Mizzou and The Liberal Limit

Mizzou football scored their greatest victory ever on Monday, effectively sacking the school’s president.

Tim Wolfe resigned as head of the University of Missouri
(and took the Chancellor with him) following criticism of how he responded—or didn’t—to racist attacks on students over the past few months.

“The frustration and anger that I see is clear, real, and I don’t doubt it for a second,” Wolfe said. “Please, please, use this resignation to heal, not to hate, and let’s move on together for a brighter tomorrow.”

Mizzou’s black players had announced a strike the day before—joining scores of student activists led by a hunger striker who refused to eat until Wolfe left. In a parting shot to the protesters he defied as recently as Sunday, Wolfe said he shouldn't have been ousted like this.

“This is not, I repeat, not, how change should come about,” Wolfe said, adding that change comes from listening to others.
“I take full responsibility for the inaction, and I take full responsibility for the frustration that has occurred.”
(Source)
Boo, lemme stop you right there.

Do any of y'all remember Levi Pettit?  Remember how the president of that school handled its racist fraternity problem?  Did y'all notice that he still has his job???

Funny thing about white privilege: it does have an expiration date, and it is finite to begin with.  Like many white folks in America today, Tim Wolfe got into his head that as a white male university president, his power and privilege had no bounds, and he could ignore the "frustration" which plagued black students on his campus.  Their safety was not his responsibility.  Their well-being was irrelevant.  They were there to serve a purpose, and their worth pretty much ended there.  To quote one student, "If we aren’t scoring touchdowns, the university does not care about us."

Let it be noted that Wolfe was ousted through non-violent protest.  The students who protested were united, they stood strong, and they let their school know that the days of simply ignoring abuse against black students were over.  Last I checked, that's exactly how change is meant to come about.  So I want to give mad props to the students and faculty who protested together; to see such discipline, solidarity, and conviction makes me relax a little about the future Millennial Generation.

And I want to pop pink champagne for Mizzou English instructor Bradley Harrison Smith. When another professor refused to cancel classes despite the safety concerns of black students (again, ignoring the problem...and like Wolfe, he resigned), Smith issued the following statement:
I’m writing to tell you that I’m canceling class tomorrow (Wednesday 11/11/15). The truth is, despite all of the threats on social media, I would still probably feel safe on campus were we to have class. But that’s because I am a white man. I would not feel safe at all were this not the case. By holding class at our regular time, I would be forcing my students who do and probably should feel threatened to implicitly disobey me in order to protect their lives by not attending my class. Which means that, were I to tell you something like: ‘We are going to still have class, but stay home if you don’t feel safe…’ (which is what I originally planned to say) I think I would be participating in the marginalization of minority students by tacitly supporting an educational environment in which certain students feel safe while others cannot. Attending class tomorrow, in light of the recent threats, would be a privilege not available to all my students, and I have therefore decided that it will not be a privilege for any of my students.
I believe that's a bona fide mic drop, Bar Patrons.

Now...it's no coincidence that right before I was about to blog, I came across about this Facebook post by Marlon James. You know I've talked about the Clock? Well, there's also the issue of what I used to call the Threshold, or the limit to which some white folks are willing to be progressive:
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about another thing that has been pissing me the fuck off recently. Lately, in the pages of liberal bastions like Atlantic, Slate, and New Republic, there has been this movement gaining steam largely because nobody wants to give it a name. So let me name this mofo: The Liberal Limit. You know it— in fact it’s been the view of many liberals and leftists, but particularly old white liberal men (yeah I said it), that progressiveness has gone too far, so far that even their privilege now feels attacked.

They’re tired of learning new gender pronouns. Tired of hiding that nigger joke book. Tired of having to figure out how to respond to a Rihanna video. Tired of feminists of colour pointing out fissures in whatever wave of feminism we got right now. Tired of black kids on campus whining all the time. Tired of everybody being so angry because without their alliance all you coloured folk would be doomed. Liberal but up to the point where it scrapes on privilege.

But here’s the news. You’re a progressive. You’re supposed to progress. You’re supposed to be more liberal today than you were yesterday. Yes, we’re supposed to passionately debate (not tear down) even the stance of our allies, even those who agree with us 60% of the time. You’re supposed to keep changing your views on race because even the most positive view is inherently flawed and needs work. The whole point to being liberal, to being progressive is to continuously evolve, continuously question, continuously debate, even continuously knock down and build up, sometimes even ripping everything apart to start again. My views on trans people are different in 2014 that they were in 2004. And you can bet your ass it will be even better in 2024 than it is now, because that's what makes me not conservative. The point to being a progressive is to fucking progress.
Mm-hm....

This post stuck out to me at this particular time because despite all the solidarity we've witnessed with the Mizzou situation, brown folks still gotta stay vigilant.  Mizzou isn't experiencing racial problems in 20-fucking-15 because the white folks in Missouri are just soooooo progressive.  They're experiencing these problems because the society in which they live has happily allowed (and even encouraged) this rot to flourish.  Not to mention, when white people with power (like David Boren) use said power to do the right thing, they come under fire.

So while we drink to victory today, the battle rages on tomorrow.

9 comments:

  1. Let me give a shout out to the Mizzou athletes, students and their supporters for taking a stand against their president and the ongoing racism on that campus. I'm hoping that what these people did is not a temporary event but until racism becomes a thing of the past. What they did should be a wake up call for athletes....whether they are from high school, college or professional. When Donald Sterling was caught talking racist talk with his former girlfriend,it should have started with the LA Clippers. The players did take a " stand " against his words but you may as well say that they were in a play. They still played the game for their fans..they still supported Donald. Taking a stand against in this case..racism..is unconditional and risky...which was what the people of the Civil Right Movement did and what the students at Mizzou did. Some people may argue that they are under contract. Yeah, but think about many people have lost a lost more..like their lives for them to play ball.

    You know I've learned the true meaning of "liberal" and when it comes to White people..it always have to be visual. Recently, we discussed about the young student from Spring Valley High School and the 13 Black women that was raped by Daniel Holtzclaw. Supposedly, women organizations like now are more associated with liberals because of the women's rights. Here is my thing with being liberal..one would think that if you're in a marginalized group that you would be there for another marginalized group. In this case, when you hear about a woman being violated one should come to the rescue for another but that wasn't the case for for these women. As a matter of fact, I read a tweet from supporter in Oklahoma on Shaun King's site where she said that other than their organization, no other people showed to in support of the Daniel's rape victims..Not N.O.W. not any other female and that is pathetically sad.With White folks ..their definition of " progress " is visual and to a limit. As long as you have different groups of people converging on a place it's progress, if they have Black/POC players playing their sports it progress.To them , as long as they see this, they think it's progress.

    Although we've been hearing problems about places like Ferguson and the state of Missouri in recent times, the problems Black/POC have been facing there have been there for a LONG time. At one point, I thought that St.Louis was the place where the cool and talented people lived..that was until 18 years ago when I corresponded with White Muslim guy and he warned against anybody moving to Missouri. Initially i,thought that he was trying to be funny..that was until discussed some of the vert serious problems there. Then Nelly talked about how his brother was treated by their police and so one and so on, then Ferguson and now Mizzou. I'm not from Missouri, so I can only go by what the natives say but they basically said that where he lives is a basic death trap ..especially if you are Black/POc.

    You have some people who want to be progressives and some people who want to benefit of others but don't want to contribute to the cause. With some White liberals, they'll say the are progressives but as you just said on here,being one also means you help improve their lives of other marginalized people. White people like David Bowen are progressive but people like Tim Wolfe are not. Tim just thought that having a physically diversified campus equated to true diversity but true diversity means checking on the well being of the people on his campus. It's evident that he neglected Black/POC well being.

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  2. " If we aren't scoring touchdowns, the university does not care about us.."

    Oh my..how ironic that this student athlete made this remark. In spite of those guys resuming back into their routine of playing football, I'm hoping that it's a case of fooling their coach into playing the game by not showing up on the field..for good. Just listen to this coward's..** coughing** ..coach's interview and you'll hear what their Gary Pinkel really think about their presence on the field..then again, this shouldn't be a surprise to no one. After all, these are the same people who could care less about their athletes when they get hurt.( Source: On Soundcloud from Deray McKesson, Shaun King or Johnetta Elzie tweets)

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  3. White liberals care more about distancing themselves from white conservatives (read. poor and uneducated). White liberals racism and other bigotry is just more sophisticated. I remember making a comment on another post about overt and covert racist, white liberals are the covert ones.

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  4. Liberal or conservative, ultimately, white people don't give a damn about the suffering and pain of people of color, unless it benefits them in some way.

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  5. “…The whole point to being liberal, to being progressive is to continuously evolve, continuously question, continuously debate, even continuously knock down and build up, sometimes even ripping everything apart to start again. My views on trans people are different in 2014 that they were in 2004. And you can bet your ass it will be even better in 2024 than it is now, because that's what makes me not conservative. The point to being a progressive is to fucking progress.”

    But not at the expense of White Centrality (and there’s the rub).

    From, What White People Fear by Robert Jensen
    Liberals are quick to denounce both the thinly veiled and the openly reactionary conservative racism. But what of the fears of liberals? White liberals might reject the very idea that they are afraid, citing their support for diversity and multiculturalism. But my experience suggests that while white liberals reject assertions of white supremacy, many fear the loss of white centrality. They are willing to renounce the idea that white people are superior, as long as they are allowed to live comfortably in a world where white is the norm.

    So as a white person, there’s a limit to my Empathy for The Other. A limit to how far I’m willing to go in my pursuit for equality. Yet, should I see white precedence ‘shift in favor of non-whites, Authentic Behavior demands that I abandon these noble ideals and align myself with the ultra-conservatives/bigots to preserve the status quo. My fragility won’t allow true equity with people of color as I feel I’m deserving of higher status (even if I’m not willing to admit it). Ergo, as a white person I’ve learned a valuable truth, and that is: privilege is as precious as the air we breathe.

    Anything short of primacy leaves me open to the same vulnerabilities, abuses and indignities non-whites suffer every day. So just like Cypher in the Matrix, I’m down for the cause of liberalism. I’m willing to march arm in arm against racism, but not at the expense of white hegemony. Thus, much like Cypher: if I’m forced to choose between the stark reality of a brown planet (where whites are no longer the majority) and the factitious Matrix that is white supremacy, “then I choose the Matrix.” Course, once I show my hand, all bets are off at that point.


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    1. This pretty much sums it up. The Cause is all good...until actual sacrifice becomes a factor.

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    2. "So as a white person, there’s a limit to my Empathy for The Other. A limit to how far I’m willing to go in my pursuit for equality. Yet, should I see white precedence ‘shift in favor of non-whites, Authentic Behavior demands that I abandon these noble ideals and align myself with the ultra-conservatives/bigots to preserve the status quo. My fragility won’t allow true equity with people of color as I feel I’m deserving of higher status (even if I’m not willing to admit it). Ergo, as a white person I’ve learned a valuable truth, and that is: privilege is as precious as the air we breathe."

      I remember watching so-called liberals on television (i.e., Dennis Miller) and listening to White radio hosts who seemed very liberal in their views until about 8 years ago when a certain man of color began to occupy the White House. I noticed the stark contrast in their views afterwards. The radio hosts would talk ENDLESSLY about Obama, claiming that they did not have a problem with him being Black but did not like his policies. Even their staunch listeners got tired of them always talking about Obama. Yet, I have NEVER heard them speak this way about any of the White presidents or officials.

      As stated, people like this still see themselves as superior and/or central to society regardless of alleged equality. They are fine with POC having some power and authority, but not THAT much.

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    3. "...As stated, people like this still see themselves as superior and/or central to society regardless of alleged equality. They are fine with POC having some power and authority, but not THAT much."

      Well stated.
      Here's an except from: Here’s how delusional nostalgia is killing the white working class

      It reads:
      ...And here, at last, is what lies at the heart of white-working class pessimism. We know that white Americans overall believe African American and Hispanic gains are their losses. A 2011 study from Harvard found that “white Americans see racism as a zero-sum game that they are now losing.” The study authors wrote that Whites linked lower levels of anti-black bias with higher levels of anti-white bias…Perhaps most important, the change over time in perceived anti-white and anti-black bias from the 1950s to the 2000s was negatively correlated for white respondents…suggesting that whites also linked the decrease in anti-black bias over the last half century to an increase in anti-white bias over the same time period.”

      That is, they perceived racism, and the limitations it sets on African Americans in every sphere of American life, as beneficial to whites. Equality, by white Americans’ curious logic, doesn’t serve us all: The more equal some of us become, the less equal others of us get. For blue-collar white Americans, who are more vulnerable than their more affluent and better educated peers, this fear is particularly pronounced. The terror of slipping down a rung on an already precarious ladder is transformed into a sort of paranoia...


      Whites everywhere (including the staunchest Liberal and/or Christian) aren’t blind to the inevitable winds of change signaling their decline: and most fear the loss of supremacy like the plague. This burgeoning malaise is much like the morbidity experienced by Japanese during its post-war occupation (Kyodatsu Condition), for up until that time the nation had never known defeat. So it is with the white race, for they have never experienced a time when they weren’t the dominate culture.

      For centuries this pathology has whitewashed every facet of the American ethos. Hence, if God is white then history should be wrought in such a way as to demonstrate how man’s origins sprang from whiteness. If our origins are predicated upon Whiteness then any expectation People of Color have for equality are misplaced at best, as it disrupts the natural order of things. It’s the same type of reasoning that nourished both slavery and the holocaust. Santa Claus is white because he just is, therefore whites are Entitled, Dominate and Destined to Rule because we just are. But the times they are a-changin’…

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  6. All of this had me to think about a past Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle several months ago. There were two women who challenged him during his speech concerning BLM.

    Some people said the thing may have been a set up..idk,but whether or not it was one, the negative reaction of him and moreso his " liberal " audience spoke volumes in how they really felt about the unjustly deaths of Black/minority people...supposedly by a majority-"liberal" audience in a " liberal " city.

    Yep..there was a time where I was naive in thinking that liberal meant supposed equal rights. Man..I'm glad that I woke up and smelled the coffee really quick. Like Brotha said, those same White liberals will call you a friend and will hang around you until they suck you dry and then they forget about you ..and where they came from.

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