Re: C+, Would Not Shoot Again

1

Yes, seriously.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:42 AM
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Is the British word 'whataboutery'? I mean, yes, mass-killing/manifesto racism isn't the primary racial problem in the US, but reacting strongly to it when it happens doesn't seem to me to have any kind of negative effect on opposing other kinds of racism.

I mean, not that the Confederate flag is a huge issue, but it is a pretty clear "fuck you, black people and anyone anti-racist" message from the SC statehouse, and this reaction could turn into leverage to get it taken down. Not terribly important, but not a negative outcome, and not nothing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:43 AM
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I agree with 2.2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:47 AM
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I'll be surprised if there really is genuine movement on the "fuck the confederate flag" front. With something like gay marriage, or the recent increase in visibility of trans folks, you could sort of see the tipping point coming. If we've reached a tipping point with the confederate flag, it really seems to have come out of the blue.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:48 AM
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Well, in SC, the governor is getting the legislature to consider taking it down. Might not work, but it's motion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:52 AM
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I think that stopping it from being used by state governments is a reasonably likely goal in the near term.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:53 AM
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Especially since they can now keep it off license plates.

I mean, this sort of thing really isn't going to solve everything, obviously. It's not going to solve much. But it's not harmful, and I do think it helps some --every bit of marginalization of open racism makes it a little harder for it to be spread to the next generation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:59 AM
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The flag is a big deal, but it is so super easy and nonthreatening a response to the tragedy for everybody but the most wackadoodle conservatives.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:00 AM
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Yeah, it's really not much. But it's not worse than nothing, it's just not much.

Any real progress on race is 'the slow boring of hard boards', and I don't know how you speed it up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:02 AM
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I mean, this tragedy clearly came from wackadoodle conservatives, so it's not crazy to fight the fight way over in that territory, but I agree with Ogged's point that we all get to pat ourselves on the back for quarantining the problem way over in Crazy South Carolina.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:03 AM
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Crossed with 9, not arguing with it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:04 AM
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Based on public pronouncements, "the most wackadoodle conservatives" includes about half of the Republican presidential candidates.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:04 AM
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I agree with 2 but also with 8 and the OP. Yes taking down the confederate flag is a good thing and a (somewhat) big deal and at a minimum not harmful and should happen and yes the Civil War was about slavery and yes the Confederacy was a horrible, awful regime that no one should take pride in. On the other hand, there is something vaguely annoying about the mainstream liberal-Democratic party US internet wrapping itself in the Union flag and patting itself on the back for not being white southerners (incidentally, this theme seems to me to have taken off at pretty much precisely the moment it was clear that the electoral college map looked a lot like the Union/Confederacy divide).


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:05 AM
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(incidentally, this theme seems to me to have taken off at pretty much precisely the moment it was clear that the electoral college map looked a lot like the Union/Confederacy divide)

Fights over the Confederate flag greatly pre-date the current electoral college map.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:08 AM
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My hope is that the confederate flag controversy sticks around long enough that a critical mass of people finally realize that, whatever else you say about it and however ubiquitous it is in daily life, the only people really invested in defending it are also blatant, open racists. That's not much, but any push back against the Lost Cause mythology is a good thing and making one of the central symbols of it socially inappropriate is a good thing as far as that goes (which, admittedly, is not that far).

That would require the uproar sticking around long enough that the next something-racist-happened-and-people-actually-noticed event reminds people of it, though, and forces it back to the surface though (e.g., "wait why does Mississippi literally have that on their state flag what the hell?"). The recent spat of police killing black people in obviously suspicious/unwarranted ways is a good comparison, not because it hasn't been happening more or less the same way for hundreds of years, but because they happened in a close enough order that reports had a "just like the recent events in (wherever) and (wherever), police have been criticized for..." tag stuck onto them which makes it more obvious how this is a genuine social problem and not an isolated event.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:11 AM
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Hey, if C+ were a failing grade, I never would have graduated high school. If it gets people to take the flag down, great, but in making people feel like they're not racist--when they are--or that we've taken a step toward post-racial--when we haven't--then in those ways it's "worse than nothing."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:12 AM
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the systemic stuff that affects minorities in more consistent and personal ways

Being shot dead is quite personal, as effects go.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:12 AM
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16: I don't see how it's worse than nothing when "nothing" is the status quo where the government of a state flies a flag that is inherently racist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:16 AM
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14 -- yes, that is certainly true, it has long been (quite rightly, I should add) a goal of the NAACP, but that's not really what I meant. There is a liberal-internet meme that you have been able to find since at least 2000 which seems to be really, really into taking pride in not being from the (white) South and being really, really into the Civil War as the bestest thing ever, and which does seem to me to be pretty linked to the current electoral map. Not that liberal people who basically support what I support on the internet being slightly annoying is the biggest deal ever, or a bigger deal than taking down the flag, but there is for real a kind of misuse of the past to create unjustified smugness there.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:18 AM
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Almost everyone you're talking about already feels like they're not racist when they are, and thinks they're living in a post-racial society when we aren't. There's no magic bullet there, and slowly grinding away at the number of I'm-not-racist-it's-about-(whatever) excuses is one of the ways that happens, even if it isn't the best or most effective. I don't know that it's incompatible with the other ones.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:18 AM
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in making people feel like they're not racist--when they are--or that we've taken a step toward post-racial--when we haven't--then in those ways it's "worse than nothing."

I don't get that. I mean, I'm a big believer in "Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." Best case scenario, no one's racist. Next best, everyone who still is racist has a lot of investment in looking anti-racist and not getting caught at it. (And of course this category includes most ordinary white people who think they're of reasonably good will on racial matters.) They'll still get away with a lot of shit, but less than if they felt safe being open about it.

So all sorts of self-congratulatory "Look at us being anti-racist; we're much better than those epithet-spewing degenerates" talk, while it might seem sickeningly insincere, still seems to me to be a step in the right direction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:18 AM
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I don't agree with 16; I don't see people cheering taking down the flag as thinking that this validates or excuses Northern racism. Rather, it's a skirmish in an ongoing war. As will be readily apparent once the next battle is joined after the flag is down.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:18 AM
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I am right there with this post. I would also really like to see people stop flying the Confederate flag anywhere, and especially in any official governmental setting. But any Americans patting themselves on the back for at least not being South Carolina should rethink that thought.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:23 AM
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As someone who lives in a "northern" state but sees Confederate flags on half the trucks in town, I think it's just fine if, for whatever hypocritical bullshit Twitter-butthurt reason, Southern leaders are finally like, "Oh wait maybe flying this thing all the time legitimizes wackadoos."


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:23 AM
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21: And if it is possible to get to a place where no one is racist, I don't think you can get there without a "lots of people are racist but they are afraid to talk about it" transitional phase.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:24 AM
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16 - Except for black people in South Carolina who no longer have to see their state government proudly displaying a celebration of chattel slavery. But hey, smug white Northerners suck!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:24 AM
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One of the more annoying aspects of the internet meme for me is that it tends to totally write off the post-Civil War, pre-New Deal sins of the Republican party because it was the less racist party. E.g. Matthew Yglesias thinks that Grant was the best President ever, and while I agree both that he was underrated (and is a good writer) the fact is that the late 19th C Republicans were both Union veterans and massively corrupt progenitors of the first Gilded Age and it would be nice to emphasize their corruptness and badness as we move into the second Gilded Age.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:25 AM
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28

I mean, if this were really such a goddamn nothingburger, why did the forces of reaction bother flying it over the memorial when the NAACP boycott got them to take it off the statehouse?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:25 AM
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I'd have to remind myself of actual facts to argue effectively, but wasn't Grant's corruptness vastly exaggerated as part of a deliberate practice of anti-Reconstruction slander?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:27 AM
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I'm a big believer in "Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue."

I do have sympathy for this position, too, but smug variations on "those people over THERE sure have a problem" strike me as one of the more irritating/unhelpful versions of the phenomenon.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:27 AM
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16 - Except for black people in South Carolina who no longer have to see their state government proudly displaying a celebration of chattel slavery.

While I'm telling everyone the thrilling exact parameters of my position on these matters, certainly yes to this.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:30 AM
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Walmart not selling Confederate flag items anymore does feel like actual change, though I still won't shop at Walmart.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:30 AM
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Yes to 30 and 31.

29 -- his personal corruption yes, for sure, but the general corruption of Republican-controlled America, no. I like and am a fan of Grant but I do think that there probably hasn't been enough emphasis on what a fucked up world the world of the robber barons was. That includes the Democratic party of the time, too, but I'd like to see people get more worked up about the injustices of industrial capitalism, Indian wars, and all other manner of late-19th Century stuff.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:34 AM
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With something like gay marriage, or the recent increase in visibility of trans folks, you could sort of see the tipping point coming. If we've reached a tipping point with the confederate flag, it really seems to have come out of the blue.

Public opinion can change incredibly quickly when it's an issue that people don't actually care that much about. Look at Sea World. For my entire life, and I have known a lot of vegans and animal rights enthusiasts, I never heard a single reference to Sea World being bad. Then that one documentary came out about the killer whales, and suddenly millions of people look at Sea World like it's Monsanto or Philip Morris. My sister works at a zoo and she is just baffled by the switch from "Wow, dream job" to "Geez, an animal lover would have to sell her soul to work at a place like Sea World". Constantly posting defensive things on Facebook about it.

For the last 30 years it's been "Why would you point out the Confederate flag NOW? Who cares that much? There are so many other things to worry about." And now, NOW is the time to do something. Nothing happens, and then it happens all at once.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:35 AM
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30: I guess my reaction to the original post is that sweeping condemnations of racism, I'm good with. Sweeping condemnations of counterproductively smug anti-racism that doesn't focus enough on the condemner's own racism? It's not that I disagree that that sort of smugness can be a problem, but I want complaints along those lines to be focused and specific to individual offenders, so as not to discourage imperfect anti-racism generally.

If Ogged wants to talk about some Wisconsin newspaper that's simultaneously being nasty about the South as a bunch of redneck racists and at the same time writing editorials about bombing the Middle East into black glass, or about the dysfunctionality of the black family, then sure, they should quit being racist themselves before complaining about other people. Without the specific target though? I don't get it as a productive complaint.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:36 AM
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I realize that small-population states are only electorally relevant is a very close election, but there's a bunch of territory currently voting Red that wasn't all that Reb.

I'm always surprised how much of our tea party stuff is transplaned southerners -- including Southern Californians -- but I'd guess that Wyoming and South Dakota, to pick two, are pretty much home grown.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:36 AM
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but I'd like to see people get more worked up about the injustices of industrial capitalism, Indian wars, and all other manner of late-19th Century stuff.

Tough sell. I'm picturing a late-night skit pitch, and they instead go with asking people on the street if they can name the vice-president.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:36 AM
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Fully endorse 21.

I once dated a guy who'd worked one summer for the SD zoo. Some crusty old guy took him along to assist on a rhino sperm collection jaunt involving a semi sedation dart, a cattle prod, a bucket and a getaway jeep.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:39 AM
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28 seems to me to be the real advantage of having an uproar/controversy/etc. Pushing people who think of themselves as totally not racist against, you know, those people into a situation where they have to assert simultaneously that the Confederate flag is just this tiny unimportant thing representing the most anodyne empty sense of "heritage" that no one could possibly be offended by and isn't a big deal in the slightest and that how dare you carpetbaggers and black people say we should get rid of this very very important thing about which we have strong feelings is one of the main ways in which people can hack away at coded racism.* It has the main advantage of chipping away at the people who are giving cover to the genuine and very serious racists, and who as often as not are the source of the biggest problems.

*Or, really, almost any discussion where 'it's not a big deal stop talking about it' is a strong tactic to use in getting cover from low-information people who don't want conflict to happen (which is a lot). Asking "well the people on this side think it's a big deal and want (x) to happen/not happen, and those guys say it doesn't matter at all and/or won't make a difference if it happens, so why would the people who think it's not a big deal at all/completely unimportant not just let the other people do what they want? I mean, if it's not important why fight them on it?" is something that seems to me to have a strong effect on people who are otherwise of the conservative-but-not-right-wing temperament and mostly just want debates about things that make them uncomfortable to go away.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:40 AM
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34: So, does she get to pet big cats? Because if so I envy her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:43 AM
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30: I guess my reaction to the original post is that sweeping condemnations of racism, I'm good with. Sweeping condemnations of counterproductively smug anti-racism that doesn't focus enough on the condemner's own racism? It's not that I disagree that that sort of smugness can be a problem, but I want complaints along those lines to be focused and specific to individual offenders, so as not to discourage imperfect anti-racism generally.

Very fair. It's not so much that I want people to self berate. It's more that it just feels so weird to me in the current context, when it feels like there is an endless stream of terrible reports of black people dying for one reason or another attributable to white supremacy, all around the country, to have so much public discourse vigorously cast this killing as a special South Carolina problem.* But (a) in some ways, of course, it is, and (b) I really would like to see the flag come down, for any reason, and anyway (c) even if I think the regional specificity of the anti-racist response here is a little misplaced/blinkered, it's obviously a damn sight better than pretending it's about something other than the present horrible racist legacy of horrible racist everything.

*What it reminds me of, I guess, is when I encounter Europeans getting really smug about how specially awful Americans are. We ARE particularly awful! But jeez, guys.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:45 AM
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I think of it as a problem everywhere but a special problem in South Carolina and Ohio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:47 AM
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LB's "whataboutery" and (heard via k-sky) "attention policing" seem about right, here. I don't know anyone congratulating themselves for the non-existence of northern racism while hollering about the traitor flag. And the black folks I know have nothing but "fuck yeah" to say to the removal from government land of a flag that says, "We wish you were still our chattel." So, hooray for yelling about the flag and getting it taken down and if you would like to get folks to yell about other things too, then work on that.

Smug liberals complaining about other less appropriately smug liberals are *the worst.*


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:49 AM
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44

42: Ohio? That bastion of abolitionism?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:50 AM
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Maybe this part of the dynamic in fact feels specially salient to me because so many of the people I encounter mote-ing it up are in Ohio, Land of the Beam.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:50 AM
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Smug liberals complaining about other less appropriately smug liberals are *the worst.*

I don't know if you realize this, but you're in danger of falling into the trap of smugly complaining about smug complaints about smugness. And when I see someone doing that? I get smug about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:51 AM
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But I do truly hate smug liberal complaints about how other liberals are wrongly smug, so I should probably rethink this irritation, which is fraught enough as it is!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:52 AM
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43 -- come on. Read the e.g. Lawyers Guns and Money comments section with people going on and on about the South. It's not "attention policing" to recognize an annoying dynamic of people being annoying. Doesn't mean that taking down the Confederate flag isn't important or isn't the right thing to do -- no one is saying otherwise. But we don't need to sign on uncritically to every goddamn liberal meme that shows up on the goddamn internet.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:52 AM
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That was kind of the joke, LB? But feel free to smug it up!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:53 AM
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I have a small, enigmatic smile on my face as we speak.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:55 AM
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But we don't need to sign on uncritically to every goddamn liberal meme that shows up on the goddamn internet.

Pretty sure I'm not signing on for that! And I wouldn't read LGM comments on a bet, so maybe I'm completely lunatic. But I feel like this shit always goes round and round and round. No, you can't be happy about getting SC (maybe!) to take down the flag, because you are also complicit in systemic racism. No you can't complain about Gaza, because Syria. No you can't write a book about factory farming, because children have malaria.

Getting the flag down is good. I am glad there is a lot of support for it. I remember when this wasn't the case.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:56 AM
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I'd be more impressed with the "stupid sexy Flanders smug liberals" line if I didn't see it show up every single time people left of center objected to something that they weren't, in the strictest possible sense, culpable for themselves. It's perfectly reasonable to acknowledge structural racism and one's own involvement in it while still objecting to more extreme versions somewhere else.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:59 AM
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And, annoying as the LGM-type crowd may be, if you knock off the flag as an issue, they've got one less issue they can use to avoid confronting larger problems. So it's a win-win.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:59 AM
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Read the e.g. Lawyers Guns and Money comments section with people going on and on about the South.

There's certainly been an increasingly self-righteous Pharyngula-like vibe over there recently, but I think it's only incidentally about the South. Several of the regular commenters strike that same pose over basically everything.

Anyway, "someone in a comments section somewhere is being annoying about it" is a complaint applicable to basically any and every subject.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 10:59 AM
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I'm sure I've told this story here, but a few years ago I was driving on the LIE and saw a "Calvin pissing" decal on the back of a pickup. I roll my eyes and inch closer to said truck to see what Calvin is pissing on now. A boring Chevy logo? The New York Yankees? No! It's the confederate flag! I was delighted.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:00 AM
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In my mind, it's John Calvin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:09 AM
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So just to be clear, is the OP wishing that the racist shooter in SC had been, you know, a better sort of racist shooter, just from a structural perspective?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:10 AM
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Is this about the stupid haircut?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:11 AM
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58: It's the extra N. He was doomed from the start.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:13 AM
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People! Take the win.

Then go listen to Rednecks. But first, take the win.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:16 AM
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I'm listening to Rednex instead.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:18 AM
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Take the win is important. Small wins beget more small wins beget less-small wins beget big wins.

IME, "we got the flag so we're not going to get gun control" is less suggestive of the way politics and activism unfolds than "a coalition that can win symbolic victories can win material victories because it increases its moral authority."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:18 AM
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Anyway, "someone in a comments section somewhere is being annoying about it" is a complaint applicable to basically any and every subject.

That is definitely true.

No, you can't be happy about getting SC (maybe!) to take down the flag

Not what I'm saying at all (maybe it's what Ogged is saying, I can't tell). Take down the flag! Feel good about it!

But there really is a specific thing, and the only thing that I find annoying, of unreflective rah-rah we are more awesome because white people who lived in the region that I now live in and who may or may not have been my ancestors fought on the right side of the Civil War and my state turned up as blue on the 2000 electoral map. When most of the most intractable problems of white supremacy don't really have much to do with neo-Confederacy-ism per se, and there's some evidence, but real evidence that actually-existing black people are doing very well, and actually prefer, Southern cities in Southern states. Doesn't mean that there wasn't one clearly much better and one clearly evil side in the US Civil War (there definitely was), just that the uses of the trope in the present get complicated and can be used to write off the long and complicated history of Northern discrimination.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:19 AM
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I don't know that the win is mine to take or not, but people who are worried too much about smug liberals probably didn't have quite as many posts by their Facebook friends about how the real problem in South Carolina was not enough fucking guns around.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:19 AM
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amply pwned by Cryptic Ned in 34 above.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:20 AM
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To the link in 63, before reading: Joel Kotkin is not always wrong, but he really does live to troll liberal municipal coalitions.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:22 AM
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Definitely agree with "take the win." Take every win you can get! Refusing in order to hold out for some different better win is... not the way to win things.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:22 AM
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How can we help feeling smug after reading The Warmth of Other Suns that tells the story of black people that left the Jim Crow South, and found equality, love, and acceptance in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:26 AM
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66 -- agreed (and I also agree with "take the win"), but the point I was making there doesn't really depend on Kotkin. There's both real and a lot of anecdotal evidence that (some) Southern cities are, right now, better places for (many) black people than Northern ones, and that's something that people who are smug about being Northern just qua being Northern should reflect on seriously.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:27 AM
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people who are smug about being Northern just qua being Northern

mumble Pauline Kael mumble -- But who are these people?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:33 AM
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69: Again, not engaging with whatever's at the link, and it makes sense on the surface, but I'm sure in Kotkin's argument it's because they have fewer unions and lower minimum wages.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:35 AM
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68: I first heard it as Chicago/Mississippi but I've always loved "I'd rather be a lamp post in Harlem than the Governor of Georgia."

But yeah, seriously, everyone listen to 60.2 if you don't know it already. It's so good and mean and on topic.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:37 AM
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Has anyone asked Howard Dean about the Confederate flag lately?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:42 AM
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Yeah, my feelings of weirdness over the sort of palpable relief some people seem to be manifesting over the opportunity to take an anti-racist position that doesn't involve too much uncomfortable talk about stuff closer to home (which I think I basically share with the OP) has led me to basically the exact opposite position from 16. How completely fucking AWESOME will it be if the power of the sheer thrill of relief to have such a relatively comfortable outlet for taking the high road leads to a real and meaningful change? The weakness of the human spirit, harnessed for good! Right?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:43 AM
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I produced some magnificently convoluted sentences there.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:43 AM
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71.last -> Yes! He does in fact more or less argue that, somehow without noticing that this should also lead white people to move there in similar numbers and hence we shouldn't see that significant of an effect.

Teasing out the few facts he does give though seems to indicate that it's a combination of already existing substantial black communities in those areas and the collapse of a bunch of the other ones that had them outside the south, mostly in the rust belt. The fact that a place with a very large African American community will draw African Americans there despite the potential for more racism when outside that community over places with less outward racism but without any place to escape a vast sea of unpredictable white people, because of the business climate or the fact that, really, the South doesn't have more racism than other places is not that great though. It's about as good as arguing that Minneapolis/St. Paul has a large Somali community and must, therefore, have very little seasonal variation.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:48 AM
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Ooh, with a failure of subject-verb agreement too. Go me!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:48 AM
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One thing I like about this victory is that it's nested in the context of #BlackLivesMatter. So rather than being an escape valve for racists to say we got rid of that, let's ignore structural inequality, it ties the agents of the state who killed Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Ezell Ford and Eric Garner, who are having more and more trouble hiding behind the ostensible color-blindness of the law, to the most extreme racist caricature.

Now, it could still work as an escape valve. It's the work of politics to make sure that it doesn't, and the range of opinions in this thread seems to me more like different temperature readings on that effort than like substantive disagreement.

Certainly the #GoAwayDeray folks are hoping to keep it all isolated.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:51 AM
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Just here for a belated amen.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:55 AM
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I'm in a meeting. Done in 15.


Posted by: Opinionated Amen | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:56 AM
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79: A smug amen or an anti-smug amen?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 11:57 AM
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Worst comment thread ever? Not even close, but pretty bad!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:00 PM
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79: A smug amen or an anti-smug amen?

Smeman?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:13 PM
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Smugma.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:14 PM
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43.last is pretty much right, and I assume that's why ogged felt the need to write 82. Sorry, Smuggo!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:17 PM
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I read the OP title and thought we were in for a programming thread.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:25 PM
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Seriously, this is a weird thread. It's like a bunch of people woke up and decided they'd pretend to not understand the concepts of "scapegoating" or "fall-guy." So taking the flag down would be...a bad thing? Is that what you're saying?? I'm being trolled. Anyway, in a more conciliatory vein, I'll co-sign everything foxytail has said in this thread.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:33 PM
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Including the bit where she said she was taking the exact opposite position from you in 16? Because that's puzzling, if it's not a change of position, but it's not phrased like a change of position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:35 PM
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There's both real and a lot of anecdotal evidence that (some) Southern cities are, right now, better places for (many) black people than Northern ones, and that's something that people who are smug about being Northern just qua being Northern should reflect on seriously.

AFAICT, white people who care about cities in the North are very much concerned about the institutional racism of Northern cities. White Northerners who don't give a shit about cities (that is, most of them) don't give a shit about how black people experience them, either. Pittsburgh is probably an unusually racist American city (I blame Appalachia*), yet every nonprofit I've dealt with around here - including ones with stereotypically whitey missions like the environment and bicycling and, come to think of it, midwifery - is intensely interested in ameliorating that racism.

I think the people you're targeting are the suburbanites who tell themselves they don't live in the city for totally non-racist reasons, who say that cities are failing due to unions and corruption, but mentally add "identity politics" to that list (and who don't actually know whether the cities are failing), and who rely on tokens like being in a blue/Union state to prove they're not racist.

Oh, and there's also people who don't give a shit about cities as long as their personal slice of it - whether it's a cultural/sports district, a business district, or a fancy/gentrified neighborhood - thrives. This was 90% of white urban politics from ~1975 through 2010 or so, the period when cities were nothing but "problems" to be solved, and by "solved" they meant walled off from the urban bits that wealthy whites wanted to use (to some extent this was true earlier as well, but there was a transition period when A. progressive city leaders tried, however foolishly, to make things better for most residents, and B. the urban/suburban divide was less entrenched). Those people still exist, but they no longer dominate the conversation (on the white side that is).

*not really joking; if it's true that Pgh is notably more racist than the median old non-Southern city, the main reason I can think of is its status as the so-called capital of Appalachia. It has a lower black population than most comparable cities, but all the studies I've seen suggest that whites get more racist around big black populations, not smaller ones


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:37 PM
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87: Look around the comment thread. If you can't spot the fall-guy in the first 20 comments, then you are the fall-guy.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:39 PM
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There's a subset of local people who hate bicyclists more than they hate black people while (probably) not being at all fond of either. It might count as progress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:41 PM
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It's like a bunch of people woke up and decided they'd pretend to not understand the concepts of "scapegoating" or "fall-guy."

If the flag were an easy fall-guy, it would have been gone some decades ago. It's gone now because our side* is, if not winning, at least advancing.

I'm reminded of the trolls who say that no one should be happy about marriage equality because job discrimination is still legal in lots of places. "Oh, you mean this isn't the New Jerusalem yet? We had no idea. We were going to stop fighting right after the wedding." Come to think of it, I've read articles saying that marriage equality is a distraction from advancing real equality, that it's just symbolic. Hmm.

*and yeah, when there's a big national discussion about whether the government should promote the flag of white supremacy, everyone who says "No" is on the right side, even if they aren't pure at heart.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:46 PM
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The NYT's roundup of southern front pages includes that of The State, from Columbia, with a headline including the phrase "racially-tinged slaughter at Charleston church". Tinged. You know what rhymes with tinged? Cringed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:46 PM
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82: the OP was fairly Vauxhall Conference stuff too, to be fair.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:47 PM
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91: My friend who biked here when no one biked here used to (back in the 90s) say that cyclists in Pgh were kind of like gays: not accepted, viewed with skepticism, but also tolerated on a kind of live and let live basis.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:48 PM
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They've now advanced to having their own bar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:49 PM
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For my entire life, and I have known a lot of vegans and animal rights enthusiasts, I never heard a single reference to Sea World being bad.

Huh? Animal rights activists have been loudly complaining about SeaWorld for decades. And not just PETA and the like--credible organizations like the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society have been vocal on this.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:50 PM
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(Show of hands: how many people understood 94 without googling?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:51 PM
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I assumed it was something about a car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:52 PM
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Does it send the right message or the wrong message if the only Confederate-flag themed paraphernalia in your home is Confederate-flag themed toilet paper?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:52 PM
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[Pittsburgh] has a lower black population than most comparable cities

While I'm not surprised that Pittsburgh's racist, I didn't know that the city was unusually non-black. Then I realized that outside of the obvious examples (Detroit, Baltimore), I didn't have a good sense of how black various comparable cities. Not really knowing what's "comparable", I looked up the percentage of population that's black in every Northeast or Great Lakes-part-of-the-Midwest city that I could think of, focusing on the Rust Belt ones. Note that these are for the cities themselves, not the metro areas (then Pittsburgh would be very white). Possibly some surprises here:

St. Paul 15.7%
Minneapolis 18.6%
Boston 24.1%
Syracuse 25.4%
New York City 25.5%
Pittsburgh 26.1%
Columbus, OH 28.0%
Chicago 32.9%
Buffalo 38.6%
Milwaukee 40.0%
Rochester 41.7%
Philadelphia 43.6%
Cincinnati 44.8%
Washington 49.5%
Cleveland 53.3%
Baltimore 63.7%
Detroit 82.7%


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:54 PM
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(I think I asked the question in 100 somewhere on this blog years ago, but I honestly can't remember the answer.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:56 PM
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Reporting Dr. Oops' perception of Pittsburgh ten years ago or so, it wasn't unusually non-black, but it was unfamiliarly non-Latino. Practicing medicine in Pittsburgh involved no wishing she spoke any useful amount amount of Spanish, whereas Newark, where she'd been beforehand, Spanish would have been useful all the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:57 PM
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100, 102: Using printed toilet paper is probably bad for the environment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:57 PM
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103: Yes. Moving here after a few years in North Carolina, that really struck me also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 12:59 PM
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That and having to make a separate trip to buy beer were the big changes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:00 PM
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it was unfamiliarly non-Latino

Oh man, this. It's by far the biggest demographic difference I see between here and where my parents live on the other end of the state. Puerto Rican accents sound like home to me and I miss them.

This gives Pittsburgh the demographic quirk of being one of the few American cities that has twice as many Asians as Hispanics.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:01 PM
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Which is a problem because Asian food isn't as good as Mexican.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:03 PM
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I find myself commenting at LGM less and less and attributed it partly to the new registration system and all the ads making things sluggish. Still, it's a far ways off the utter trainwreck that you find in CT comments these days.

98 I thought I understood but find I'm actually more confused after googling.



Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:03 PM
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My ethnically-based impressions of PGH from when I lived there briefly 20 years ago were (a) no Latinos (b) no Asians (c) holy shit white people in this place are still super-intense about their specific European ethnic origin as Serbs, Italians, Irish, Slovaks, whatever, is it still 1925 here or what (d) holy shit old people (e) no, seriously, NO Latinos and NO asians.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:03 PM
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It's like a bunch of people woke up and decided they'd pretend to not understand the concepts of "scapegoating" or "fall-guy."

Or, more depressingly, like that bunch of people silently agreed that substantial gun control legislation is so impossible that it isn't even worth talking about anymore.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:03 PM
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whataboutery

A blog that's lousy with lawyers and academics, and nobody can come up with the phrase tu quoque?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:06 PM
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the OP was fairly Vauxhall Conference stuff

And yet altogether too complex to be properly understood by the assembled crowd. It's all very mysterious.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:09 PM
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110 continued -- I also wouldn't have guessed 25% black, I would have guessed a significant black minority, but around 15-20%, and substantially less black than NYC or Chicago. Maybe the PGH black percentage has increased and that of NYC decreased in the intervening 20 years (I know the latter is true).


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:09 PM
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The confederate flag thing is a clear win. Don't overthink it.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:10 PM
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The percentage of blacks in the city proper has actually gone down a bit. Where were you?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:10 PM
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To be fair, I was technically living in Monroeville. But working all over the city, especially Downtown.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:12 PM
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111 Despite his father giving him the gun I think gun control legislation is beside the point here. This isn't like Sandy Hook. Someone that embittered hatred and vile racism is going to get their hands on a gun eventually. It's the racism and all the background and foreground signalling in the culture at large that white supremacy is a norm, positive good, and under threat that's the problem. Taking the flag down undermines that narrative. So does Amazon, Walmart, and other corporations banning its being sold. This is a good thing.

Next week some cop somewhere is going to shoot an unarmed black kid and we can all get back to business as usual.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:12 PM
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Asian food isn't as good as Mexican

I am being trolled.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:12 PM
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108 is confusing me because while it clearly must be a joke of some kind I can't work it out.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:13 PM
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110.c: I think that's all but gone now. There are still echoes of it, but even 20 years ago it was in decline, and now it's mostly gone.

And yeah, the followup to 101 would be the white %ages, where I'd bet Pgh would far outstrip all but the Twin Cities (maybe Boston? Not sure how much Latino and Asian population there is there).

I read something recently that rubbed me the wrong way, to the effect that Pgh was the only place a visitor/newcomer had ever seen black people doing landscaping work. I mean, it's an interesting observation, but something about it reeked of judgment, in a way that the speaker would almost certainly be unable to articulate and defend.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:14 PM
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A lot of this question turns on what you make of Chris Hayes's Twilight of the Elites meritocracy argument. If there's no way to fight for any economic equality, just a more equitable distribution of opportunity, then tearing down the flag is a symbolic affirmation of a trend that has been making tolerance less objectionable but poverty no less brutal. If you think that there are forces at play that are exposing structural problems and imagining structural solutions, it's easier to take the win as a win.

I think the DOJ report on Ferguson is a good reason to be optimistic. That's the most mainstream and concrete discussion of institutional racism that I can recall in my medium-length white life.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:15 PM
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117: That would explain it, though Monroeville is more diverse these days.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:15 PM
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120: I mean, if you take into account price.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:16 PM
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121 -- That surprises and saddens me a little. E.g. the new-to-me word "hunky" (meaning person of Eastern European origin) was still in common use among the PGH people I was working with, I guess then mostly in their 30s and 40s, 20 years ago.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:17 PM
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Asia doesn't include Vietnam!?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:18 PM
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I think the NY percentage maybe looks inflated because of the higher percentage of Latinos (that is, NY is a city with a huge minority population, but not a huge black population). That is, something that I really noticed back when Sally was playing rugby was playing out of town teams; her team was mostly nonwhite, but a lot of varying shades of not immediately obvious without talking to the kid ethnicity -- biracial? Latino? South Asian? Teams from other places were often all or almost all just African American. I hadn't realized that would look weird to me, but it did. I expect a crowd of kids that isn't segregated all or almost all white to be a very ethnically varied group.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:18 PM
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117, again: And the population with Asian roots is more likely to work in medicine or education. That's concentrated in Oakland, not downtown.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:18 PM
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Why on earth did you live in Monroeville?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:19 PM
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127 to 114


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:19 PM
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(I imagine it's because the judge you were clerking for was there, or whatever, but it still seems very surprising as a place to live!)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:20 PM
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117: One of the big markers of local racism is the degree of segregation, and it would be pretty easy for you to see lots of almost all-white neighborhoods and only a handful of all-black, disguising the true ratio. Especially because some of the dividing lines are invisible but stark - one side of a street 95% white, the other side 85% black, so you'd be in e.g. Bloomfield, 2 blocks from a majority-black neighborhood, and see a handful of blacks all day.

One of the reasons we moved where we did was that it was/is a rare area of seemingly-stable integration. A bit less than it used to be, as grad students have displaced working class families of both races, but it doesn't look headed for either extreme.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:20 PM
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126: I've never eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant. I tried Thai food and didn't like it (peanuts are not supposed to be in an entree) so I figured I'd just avoid all of Indochina.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:21 PM
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You should try Vietnamese. It's very distinguishable from Thai, and very good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:22 PM
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The one near me doesn't have a liquor license.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:26 PM
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To the OP, I don't see how the South Carolina shootings help people

ignore (or keep doing) the systemic stuff that affects minorities in more consistent and personal ways.

Absent the South Carolina shootings, people were doing a very good job of ignoring systematic injustice. The South Carolina shootings, in fact, got people nationwide talking about it. (As did the various other shootings.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:26 PM
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129 -- I could stay there completely for free. This was long before law school. Monroeville certainly did suck, so I basically just slept there.

117 -- It's certainly true that there weren't in fact NO Asians back then, but I did spend a bunch of time in Squirrel Hill and Oakland and worked briefly in some cubicle in a UPMC building, I think in Oakland, and compared to any West Coast or big East Coast city that I'd been in it sure felt like there were hardly any Asians at all.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:27 PM
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Corresponding white populations:

Detroit 10.6%
Baltimore 29.6%
Cleveland 37.3%
Philadelphia 41.8%
Washington 43.4%
Rochester 43.7%
New York City 44.0%
Milwaukee 44.8%
Chicago 45.0%
Cincinnati 49.3%
Buffalo 50.4%
Boston 52.9%
Columbus, OH 61.5%
Minneapolis 63.8%
Syracuse 64.3%
Pittsburgh 66.0%
St. Paul 66.5%


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:27 PM
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The old-school delis in Squirrel Hill are now Asian restaurants.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:28 PM
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I think there are a bunch of Thai dishes that overlap with Vietnamese ones, but they're not the really characteristic ones you'd reliably see at restaurants.

And, yes. You absolutely should try Vietnamese. It's both wonderful and, usually, pretty inexpensive*. It's also fun to take new people to Vietnamese restaurants because describing most of the dishes makes them sound really boring when they actually aren't. ("Well, I'd recommend either the beef noodle soup or the grilled pork chop with some rice.")

*That $2.50 sandwich really is at least smallish-lunch sized, and more interesting than it sounds.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:28 PM
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138: What if you include the white people who don't write?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:28 PM
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125: Yeah, it is a bit of a shame. The region essentially lost a generation after the mills went down, so you get this gap between traditional Pittsburghers, born before the war, and various newer Pittsburghers born in the 70s or later who either weren't part of that milieu (e.g., their professional parents were able to weather the loss of steel) or came here from elsewhere.

Everybody still knows what a hunky is but, like a true Pittsburgh accent, it's more of a throwback or affectation than a natural emanation. I will say, though, that I'm glad that the hipsters and new people embrace and like to borrow the heritage; it's far better than (basically) people of my cohort who looked down on yinzers and viewed them as roadblocks to progress. It's never been an ironic city, and I don't feel as if most hipster evocation of yinzerdom is intended ironically.

But look at it this way: I came here 25 years ago, and am 42 years old, and only ever witnessed one steel plant in operation that isn't still there - by 1990, it was already (almost) all gone. It's a big discontinuity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:31 PM
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140: The one near me is more expensive than that also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:31 PM
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Squirrel Hill was 13.6% Asian in 2010. And you really should go to the Vietnamese place sometime. I'm not a connoisseur but I enjoyed the pho I had there.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:33 PM
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I tried to go there once but I found myself in Zaw's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:34 PM
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All around the world intolerance and hatred are being defeated!

Don't call it Castrillo Matajudíos anymore. According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, the tiny village in northern Spain whose name translates to "Camp Kill-Jews" has officially dropped the offensive moniker and reverted to its more benign original name, Castrillo Mota de Judíos or "Jews' Hill Camp."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:38 PM
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It's never been an ironic city

Just an Iron City. (Ironically, only drunk ironically.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:38 PM
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It's still better than PBR.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:40 PM
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Someone that embittered hatred and vile racism is going to get their hands on a gun eventually.

Although I agree with your overall point in the comment I snipped this from, I don't think this sentence is right. Gun control reduces suicides generally, and I think it would reduce hate-killings in much the same way - making it harder for people to act out their mercurial violence during the time it appears. Maybe not last week's asshole in particular, but on average.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:57 PM
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(Not that I would ever describe suicidal tendencies as "mercurial violence", TBC.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 1:59 PM
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It's more saturnine.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:07 PM
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149 Likewise agree. I just don't think gun control would have stopped this particular asshole. Just delayed it. And so I think it's besides them point in this case.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:09 PM
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98 - the Brits and Josh, I imagine.

Had a lovely mini meet-up with Ume and Nworb today. Would have live-blogged it, but phone signal seems to be completely shit in Cambridge. There's a photo on Flickr, although any with Ume in seem to be missing ... hmmm ...


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:10 PM
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98.last UME IS MEEKS! UME IS MEEKS!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:11 PM
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149: No, I think Barry is right: as various disappointing articles have indicated in the days after each of the last few mass murders, given the supply of firearms in the U.S., new gun control laws short of confiscation wouldn't much, if at all, affect our plague of mass shootings, but would be expected to reduce many other categories of firearms deaths: suicides, accidents, domestic disputes, etc.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:12 PM
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153.last: You guys are so British.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:32 PM
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Oh, man, I hope I didn't just screw up and forget who's English and you're actually in the other Cambridge.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:33 PM
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There's another Cambridge? My god, isn't one enough?

(Actually, I kind of loved it there. Fucking Tabs and their pretty town.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:42 PM
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True, when you bring the issue of supply into it - I don't know if any tough gun control laws have started from a point of so much obsessive hoarding by the fringe.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:43 PM
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It's time for Jefferson Davis to go, Anglim said. "I'm not looking for a drawn-out government discussion. I'm looking for a welder."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:47 PM
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I think stronger gun control laws* would undercut some of the really toxic MANLYGUNPOWER** conservative fantasies that drive a lot of the anti-gun-control groups. I mean, who knows what he or any of the other spree killers would have done without easy access to guns. But so many of them seem driven by paranoid power fantasies of some sort and gun culture is really a massive part of that.

*Yes I know that the rule is that we have to assume that any gun control laws would only affect new sales/etc., and never reduce the number of guns floating around already, but there certainly are kinds of laws that would directly and substantially reduce the number of guns out there as well. They won't happen in America as it is now of course, but as far as I can tell neither will the other ones and as long as we're imagining things that are not going to happen...
**"When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power, like God must feel when he's holding a gun."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:48 PM
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Now Amazon is pulling all confederate flag merch.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:49 PM
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162: Also Sears and eBay.

I'm utterly confused by how that happened. I mean, I can even see WalMart or Sears doing it because they're single stores and people could protest outside them and stuff, but eBay and Amazon aren't in obvious physical locations that people frequent and have lots of different sellers involved (especially eBay) so a ban would actually involve positive effort directed at preventing sales.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 2:56 PM
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Actually, we've been too passive about the upside - it's a symbolic win, it'll make African-Americans feel better, it'll make white supremacists feel worse. But this is much more substantive than that.

Why? Because a huge part of the right wing mindset is that everybody secretly believes the awful things that only they are brave enough to say. This is Limbaugh's appeal, Fox's lifebreath, and the unspoken premise of every racist joke told to a white acquaintance*. Part of the reason the right wing is so effective is that they especially, and everyone else as well, kind of believes it. Did y'all see the graph a couple weeks ago (I think Drum posted it, maybe it was from Vox) showing that every Congressperson in America thinks the country is more rightwing than it is? And shit like the Confederate flag is why. Even in SC, only a minority of people supported it with any enthusiasm, but there it flew, proclaiming the entire state a bastion of white supremacy. If that flag can fly so brazenly, then surely Good Thing X could never pass.

But this incident says, actually, fuck the Confederate flag, fuck the Sons of the Confederacy, and up with decency. And the next time you want to forward that amusing image of Michelle Obama, maybe you should think twice about who's on the CC list. And that's a real improvement.

*that is, someone the teller doesn't know to be a fellow racist


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 3:24 PM
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164 is exactly my hope. I'm not sure it works, but if we can drive the bastards underground, maybe we can stop ambivalent people from catering to them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 3:28 PM
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I guess 164 could be interpreted to mean that the flag coming down proves that everything's OK, or at least getting better. But I think the real message is - or should be - that the purveyors of hate and white supremacy aren't as many nor as powerful as they'd like to believe. And, frankly, that's a necessary precondition to beating back racism everywhere, because we've been living for 40-some years in a world where a necessary shibboleth for one half the political spectrum is winking acceptance of white supremacy, and when that's the case, true rollback of racism is impossible.

Until now, GOP presidential candidates have believed that supporting the flag of white supremacy in SC is necessary there and hurts them nowhere (that matters). After this week, that's not true, and that's an important lesson.

Mind you, this is still relatively small beer. But it's not just a symbol, it's real, positive change that gets at something essential to the project of white supremacy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 3:31 PM
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Motivated caterers only.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 3:31 PM
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if we can drive the bastards underground, maybe we can stop ambivalent people from catering to them.

It didn't work in the Vietnam War, but I hope it'll work now.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 3:32 PM
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yeah 164.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 3:46 PM
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I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, about 10 or so years ago a closeish family member began making regular trips to a major southern metropolis, checking out the sites, museums and whatnot. Then she started introducing into conversation her new realization that the CW was not about slavery! Because that's what it said at this super interesting local history museum down there! This is a generally suburban white liberal person. I was not popular when I said that US wrong, utterly false, and I'm not going to hang out with my (then small) child while you spout that crap. She desisted. Achieving a new consensus on the confederate flag is far from everything but it's also not nothing.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:11 PM
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166: But it's not just a symbol, it's real, positive change

I'm glad you said that: the "it's symbolic" -- not the flag itself, mind, but its removal -- routine has nagged at me for days as commentator after commentator makes that pronouncement, seeming to sound deep in some way, when in fact, no. To discuss the removal in such a way is to make a concession, to suggest that the confederate flag in itself doesn't really mean anything insidious, and removing it is just a sort of patch job. I don't think so, not for white supremacists. Refusing to normalize something is an extraordinarily important self-corrective, perhaps second only to outlawing it.

I may be babbling. Probably I should read the thread.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:23 PM
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In reponse to such as 70, I am going to start trying out the line: "you are right, it was really about a conflict between two progressively divergent types of economic organization (as well the political interests and cultures supervening on them), one of which was inextricably bound up with the moral evil of chattel slavery and white supremacy."


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:31 PM
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Should be 170


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:31 PM
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I never heard of Paul Stromson Thurmond before, but given that he's a GOP SC state senator I assume it must be a pretty big turn that he just not only called today to remove the flag but also said " Our ancestors were literally fighting to continue to keep human beings as slaves, and continue the unimaginable acts that occur when someone is held against their will. I am not proud of that heritage."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:47 PM
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174: Especially given his pedigree.

Also, seriously, "Stromson"? You can only get away with that if you're Icelandic.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:50 PM
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Oh, you made that up. Nevermind.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:50 PM
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This whole thing has now spread to a serious call for removing placards/statues/etc. of confederate generals/leaders/etc. in a few places. This is obviously a good thing, but I'm still surprised by how quickly things seem to have changed. A month ago I would have assumed that any calls to remove statues of Jefferson Davies or whoever would have been met with complete silence, and now apparently they're being taken very, very seriously.

164.2 is absolutely the truth and the reason to take these things seriously. Apparently I was falling prey to the same phenomenon when I assumed that basically America was fine with the "let's pretend "heritage" isn't a word with a referent" thing, and now all of a sudden it looks like it isn't.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 5:52 PM
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I join in the general admiration for 164. A big part of the racist narrative in the US is that if we stay away from the N-word and don't advocate slavery out loud, then we ain't racists. Anything that damages that narrative is necessarily good.

In much of the South, as long as one says the war wasn't about slavery, then one can wistfully reminisce about the good old days when people could own other people. As long as we deny the racist history of the flag when confronted, we can celebrate it when we aren't being confronted.

And it's got nothing to do with singling out South Carolina, or even the South. The Klan flag is rightly regarded as offensive when it flies in Wisconsin, too.

Sure, as people often said when opposing the Civil Rights Act, you can't legislate what's in peoples' hearts. But you sure as hell can legislate how they behave, and if you succeed in doing that, the change in their hearts often follows.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 6:11 PM
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ogged, I think it's less about punishing South Carolina in order to ignore racism elsewhere, and more that in a climate where talking about gun control, mental health, and violent racism can't happen politically, taking down the flag is about all that can come out of this.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 7:10 PM
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A month ago I would have assumed that any calls to remove statues of Jefferson Davies or whoever would have been met with complete silence, and now apparently they're being taken very, very seriously.

In February of this year I was shocked to find out I was attending a meeting on Jefferson Davis Highway, and said firmly to a number of people "I cannot believe there is a road in this day and age named after a man who committed treason in defense of slavery." I got a lot of "crazy person" looks, both from friends and family and from strangers (i.e. the hotel clerk).

It is astounding and wonderful to me that we're now in a moment where Confederate memorials are being defaced,* highway names may be up for grabs, and the flag may actually come down.

*I can't remember ever celebrating destruction, but I freely admit I feel gleeful when I see those statutes tagged.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 7:57 PM
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Statutes s/b statues. Hopefully the statutes were all taken down through cases like Loving v. Virgina.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 7:59 PM
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St. Paul 15.7%
Minneapolis 18.6%

In Minneapolis, there is a ring of highways confining the black neighborhoods of the North Side. Whereas, in St. Paul, they just put the highway on top of the black neighborhoods.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 8:13 PM
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So did people see the thing here in MPLS about renaming Lake Calhoun? People have been agitating at a low level about it for a few years, but recent events have brought the issue to the fore again. BUT! Clever journalistic sleuthing has revealed that the Mpls. Park Board ALREADY changed the name back in 1890. Apparently, the thinking went "John C. Calhoun? Fuck that guy. Do you know how many Minnesotans died in the Civil War?" So, yeah. History is weird.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 8:17 PM
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I was attending a meeting on Jefferson Davis Highway

Called that by state law too. It was a Southern answer to the Lincoln Highway. Figures.

My mailing address is on that damned road. I asked when I leased this place if anyone had complained. Nope and the leasing agent was surprised that anyone would.

(It annoys me even more because the building does not front on JD HWY but on a parallel, local, road. But the big name was a prestige address I guess. Yuck.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 8:27 PM
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164: Because a huge part of the right wing mindset is that everybody secretly believes the awful things that only they are brave enough to say.

and

166: But I think the real message is - or should be - that the purveyors of hate and white supremacy aren't as many nor as powerful as they'd like to believe.

are absolutely right.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 8:33 PM
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183: Emanuel AME is on Calhoun St. Looking at an early 19th century map it appears that it was originally Boundary St.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 8:56 PM
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Just the usual ogged/Ta-Nehisi Coates concordance of views.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:03 PM
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180.2 Maybe I would have gotten that job in Georgia if this had happened now.


180.3 I love, love, LOVE it when they tag them "Black Lives Matter".


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:29 PM
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Speaking of black lives that should have mattered a whole lot more, this is fucking heartbreaking: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/23/kalief-browder-solitary-confinement-research-paper_n_7646492.html


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-23-15 9:46 PM
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Next best, everyone who still is racist has a lot of investment in looking anti-racist and not getting caught at it.

I think this generally reflects the situation in the UK. I imagine racist views are about as widespread as in America, but most people don't air them except to people the think are going to sympathise. The major exception of course being Islamophobia, which you can find smeared all over the comment sections of the Guardian, so gawd knows what the Mail looks like. But this is a new phenomenon. Before 2001 most people couldn't spell Muslim, let alone voice an opinion on it.

[I have a teenage relation-in-law who is ambitious to work at Sea World in their gap year, and for various specific reasons I'm quite anxious that they can. So I hope the hate isn't too widespread. The certainly fucked up with the orcas, but I understand they do good conservation work as well.]


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 2:35 AM
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In what way isn't the persistence of leftover Confederate institutions "systemic racism" in itself? Isn't the very idea of systemic racism that the US and all who sail in her is tainted by its slavery origins, which profoundly influence its institutions to this day, and it's not enough just to be non-racist yourself, the institutions must be rebuilt?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 2:39 AM
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What I'm afraid of happening is that the flag gets taken down, it's a big win for "the left," and everything that was getting something like top billing in the news (blacks killed by cops, the incarceration rate) loses traction due to something like "racism fatigue." It feels like a high-emotion ritual sacrifice. That's not to say, obviously, that the flag being taken down is itself a bad thing. Anyway, I could be wrong.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 3:37 AM
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I think this is the Lump of Political Capital Fallacy - that you get elected with, say, 250 Politics Points, and if you spend 150 on getting the Health Care Reform upgrade then you won't be able to afford the 175 you need to unlock the Get Out Of Stupid Foreign War upgrade. But (see upthread) it's equally reasonable to suppose that a movement which scores one minor success gets more visibility and power and support that allows it to score more major successes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 4:16 AM
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153: Sadly, the only decent photo was the one I took. I'm too vain - I'd prefer that Nworb leave my appearance to people's imagination rather than putting up a horribly unflattering picture.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 4:16 AM
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192: I think this represents the peak of the latest surge of interest in the topic, and it'll fade for a few years before the next undeniable and inexcusable incident makes news, and then the process begins again. I see it as reaching a high water point, receding a bit but not all the way back to the status quo ante, and then surging forward again to yet a higher high water mark. Waves on the beach with a rising tide.

I think issue fatigue is a real problem, and we've reached saturation on race issues for now. Winning the flag fight and getting some attention to policing problems are all we get this round. The next round of media attention to substantive issues will be after the 2016 election.

It feels like a high-emotion ritual sacrifice.
It is in a way. On the bright side, sooner or later they run out of symbols to sacrifice and have to start burning their children for Baal making more substantive* concessions.

*not saying the flag win isn't substantive, it is, just that it'd be preferable to see some attention to incarceration, for example.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 5:56 AM
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Washington 49.5%

What the hell have you people done to my city?

That's a change of 10 percentage points in 10 years. I knew the gentrification (of which I was a part, but at least I sold my house to an Asian guy, geez) had become been rampant but supposedly it wasn't entirely white.

(Interestingly, and unexpectedly, the distribution by age group hasn't changed by all that much, though the absolute increases in pop. have been totally skewed to 20 to 34)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 6:05 AM
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Wrong thread, obvs.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 6:06 AM
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Come to think of it, I've read articles saying that marriage equality is a distraction from advancing real equality, that it's just symbolic. Hmm.

Framed the way you're framing it, where marriage equality is supposedly just a distraction from achieving real equality for gays, does seem silly. I don't think I've ever heard that argument (which is not to suggest that it hasn't been made). The argument I have heard, and that I find--if not persuasive, unnervingly close to being persuasive--is that politicians are using issues like gay rights, women's rights and minority rights to pit the liberals and the conservatives in society against each other so as to serve as a distraction from the fact that the elites are robbing everyone blind. Which isn't in any way to suggest that issues like gay rights, women's rights and minority rights are unimportant--they're vitally important issues, both for liberals who support them and for conservatives who oppose them. The fact that they're such important issues is crucial to the con. If people didn't care so much about these things, then the 90% of the population who are being robbed might be able to look past their differences on these points and join together to vote for politicians who would do something about the thievery.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 6:44 AM
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184: I hadn't known that it was a national thing. It shows up in the weirdest places, too. Bleh.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 6:59 AM
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184: I hadn't known that it was a national thing. It shows up in the weirdest places, too. Bleh.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 6:59 AM
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Really weird places.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 6:59 AM
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199, 200: Is that just the rest of Washington state telling Seattle to go fuck itself?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:03 AM
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Speaking of black lives that should have mattered a whole lot more, this is fucking heartbreaking

Oh god. It sure is.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:04 AM
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202: It's so strange that one house of the state legislature recently unanimously voted to get rid of it, but the other quashed it in committee. But I know nothing at all about their politics.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:08 AM
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Decent Tony Horwitz piece at TPM. As discussed here before in Confederates in the Attic he touched on the notion of how many of the places in the South where the flag/Confederacy is invoked today were not really on board during the conflict itself (hardscrabble Tennessee hill country for example). And of course today that now extends well beyond the South. Its all about yearning for a mythical "Great Anglo-Saxon Heartland"*.

Comment assessment: Banal and no value added with possible exception of Horwitz link. C+

Also, 26 won the thread decisively.

*To paraphrase George Wallace.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:50 AM
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Fucking William the Conqueror.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:54 AM
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I don't suppose I've got a well-developed Theory of Change, but on a given topic, I think you can learn a lot about which way the wind is blowing by monitoring the Overton Window.

Here's Hillary, in the wake of the various racist outrages, feeling comfortable talking honestly about the bigger issues of race in the USA.

In her first major policy speech, she committed herself to ending the "era of mass incarceration." Since then, she's called for universal voting rights. And over the weekend, in a speech to the US Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, she used the Charleston massacre to press for both gun control and closing racial divides.

Is Hillary moving the Overton Window, or is she responding to the fact that it has moved? I think both.

There was a lot of speculation that the election of Barack Obama was going to lead to the kind of complacency that ogged describes in 192. "We elected a black president! We've solved racism!"

Sure, that kind of thing is said. But I think the actual impact of the election of Obama (as opposed to a politically similar white guy) has had the net effect of moving things forward on race. I admit that I'm not sure how I'd defend that view.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:58 AM
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I've seen more than one person talk about how the election of Obama revealed to them that there really were a lot of very serious racists still walking around, when they had previously assumed otherwise (and as a result probably helped to give them cover by pushing back against people calling out racism that was less obvious to them). So that's at least some part of the mechanism - both making anti-racists feel like they're being made more credible and the mushy middle, especially in the press, being faced with some very, very unambiguous evidence that these issues are definitely not something restricted to the past.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:17 AM
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I've seen more than one person talk about how the election of Obama revealed to them that there really were a lot of very serious racists still walking around, when they had previously assumed otherwise

My father just said almost exactly this to me -- that he had really believed that there weren't any significant number of genuine racists any more, and reactions to Obama proved that boy, was he wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:21 AM
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I thought the Sense of Unfogged at the time was rather that there were fewer serious racists, as in, everyone assumed he would be assassinated. And I mean, assumed in much the same way everyone assumes Hillary Clinton will be a serious candidate next time out. Not as certain as gravity, but a strong working assumption.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:25 AM
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Obviously, Gomer Z. "Skeeter" Caine still has some time left to strike, but really, what kind of demented presidential assassin waits until half-way through the second term after the guy signed off the ARRA, ACA, and Title II?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:28 AM
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Hypothesis: the fact that people are scrambling to stake out the "This is just symbolic, what are you liberals being so self-congratulatory for (Bad liberals! Bad liberals!)?" position over the flag issue is the strongest evidence that this really is going happen and it will be a significant change.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:44 AM
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Note that I'm not picking on ogged with 212. I've been seeing this phenomenon in various corners of the left-ish intertubes over the last 48 hours.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:46 AM
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||
Topical Kickstarter for an art project by a friend of mine. It's about slavery and the middle passage and all that depressing stuff.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:48 AM
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Also, 26 won the thread decisively.

Agreed. How taking down the flag affects white people -- vis-à-vis their/our level of smugness, perception of racism, or anything else -- is way, way down on reasons to care what happens.

#blackopinionsmatter #whiteopinionsprettymuchdont #oggedisonhisown


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 9:58 AM
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I don't mean that white people oughtn't discuss the potential ramifications or how stunningly sudden the shift by white R's has been, etc., but as to the grade it gets, honkies don't get to decide.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:00 AM
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187: I'm interested to learn that Coates has been speaking along those lines. He continues to surprise, and I continue to tip my hat to him.

I had just read Patrick Nielsen Hayden's contribution to the discussion:

"You're asking me to agree that my great-grandparent and great-great-grandparents were monsters."
... [followed by a description of Hayden's own Confederate ancestors, decent people for their time]
We're not monsters because we say or do the wrong thing. We're monsters when, later, we refuse to learn.

And the second comment notes that Ta-Nehisi Coates has been burning up Twitter with great commentary on this very thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:02 AM
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how stunningly sudden the shift by white R's has been

You know, it's such an attractive proposition that white R's are suddenly seeing the light about the racism in their midst that I'd been going with that, but the cynical reading, which should at least be considered, is that they're merely taking seriously the fact that they're not going to win an election if they keep on pissing off the African American community*. There's plenty of evidence in the flip-flopping positions they've been taking the last few days that it's not much more than that.

* At least as long as they can't keep African Americans from voting at all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:12 AM
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198: To be clear, the argument I'm referencing is the first, silly one. I've never investigated it much, so I don't know what those people are on about, exactly, but I've certainly seen it multiple times, including that straights will pat themselves on the back for supporting marriage equality while abandoning gays over ostensibly more important fights like workplace discrimination.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:23 AM
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they're merely taking seriously the fact that they're not going to win an election if they keep on pissing off the African American community*.

Cynical and coldblooded this may be, but it's hard to avoid pissing off a community that you keep injuring. If the Republican Party, for whatever mercenary reasons, decides that its route to electoral success is to stop injuring black people? That's at least pretty good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:25 AM
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Alabama just took down their confederate flag, apparently.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:25 AM
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The R's don't need black votes, they need not to be seen as a overtly racist party to attract the votes of many whites who'd care about that on some level, but might still vote R if not too dissonant.

R's usually want some Reverends in their corner, or to provide backdrops for just that reason.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:27 AM
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222 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:30 AM
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I suspect there's also a generational component to the R's sudden switch, and some Republican pollster realized that this helps them potentially attract younger voters, too.

At least, anecdotally in my FB feed, the millennial conservatives are kind of "meh" about the flags coming down, or they're saying things like "yeah, that's always kind of embarrassed me." The surprises are the older folks, even folks who are reliably left-ish on things like gay marriage, like this one dude in my feed who's lamenting all this "PC bullshit" and "selective outrage," and goddammit he grew up in Virginia! And learned to revere such heroes as Robert E. Lee. Heritage!!!!!1!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:36 AM
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The general or the car?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:37 AM
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The general. But the car has had a rough month, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:40 AM
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I think that there's a sort of odd effect here where every time a Republican speaks out, lowers a flag over a government building, removes a confederate statue from an inappropriate place, and so on it highlights the other ones that aren't doing it, who are mainly Republicans as well. So you see news articles saying "Alabama has taken down their confederate flag, but it's still flying in South Carolina and Mississippi." So there's a sort of "This Republican isn't racist" aspect to the story which comes right along with the (accurate) sense that it's newsworthy because of all the ones that are. And so it'll keep reminding people about the problem until almost all of them sign on (which they're starting to pick up on).

I think this was largely the explanation from the sudden disappearance of confederate flags from most major retailers: the second WalMart did it it became newsworthy and sales spiked at other places which led to "Boy Amazon sells a lot of confederate flags" news stories, which led to them banning the sales of them there, which (etc.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:43 AM
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I have a very smart friend from college who is white and from the south and who grew up in an activisty anti-racist family. (By activist, I think we are talking white methodist ministers who boosted integration and white ladies in tea gloves who tutored black kids.) She just posted that she hasn't been reading FB for the past several days because she hates seeing northerners vaunting about the Confederate flag and thinks it's nasty and counterproductive to "call people's ancestors traitors." She then goes on to be dismissive removing Confederate flags tout court ("I mean if it will really help black people feel better, then fine take them all away.") I kind of don't know what to say to any of that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:51 AM
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it's such an attractive proposition that white R's are suddenly seeing the light about the racism in their midst

I didn't mean to imply any such thing.

222 & 227 are right.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:54 AM
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229 c'est moi.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:55 AM
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228: That's probably no worse than the Ogged-style reaction: sure, the Confederate flag is a problem, but who are you to get sanctimonious at us about it? I'd assume there's nothing much wrong with her politics once the immediate flap is over.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:57 AM
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224 is interesting, about the generational difference. Maybe the electoral contest between R's and D's is more about that than about racially differentiated demographics. It does make some sense: R's allegedly have more of an inroad with younger (white) voters. I am actually not sure how true that is, but there are polls saying so, erm.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:59 AM
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228: "And the horse you rode in on"?

More seriously, smart people can be as defensive around their blind spots as dumb people. Maybe there's not a useful conversation to be had with her right now.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 10:59 AM
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No, her politics are fine, I am genuinely bothered by the dismissiveness for the visceral response many black folks have to the flag, and think she needs to get over the traitor thing, but yeah.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:00 AM
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229: I didn't mean to imply any such thing.

No, I didn't mean to imply that you did. I was musing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:01 AM
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Oh yeah. I am saying nothing. She's read Gone with the Wind 8000000x and has gotten shirty about flag-removal stuff before (did the Black Student Union at like Washington and Lee try to get one moved?).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:02 AM
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228: I kind of don't know what to say to any of that.

Direct her to the Patrick Nielson Hayden post linked upthread, which speaks directly to the thought that it's nasty and counterproductive to "call people's ancestors traitors."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:05 AM
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More seriously, smart people can be as defensive around their blind spots as dumb people.

See, for instance, Faulkner and Intruder in the Dust for a topical example.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:06 AM
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You know, it's such an attractive proposition that white R's are suddenly seeing the light about the racism in their midst that I'd been going with that, but the cynical reading, which should at least be considered, is that they're merely taking seriously the fact that they're not going to win an election if they keep on pissing off the African American community

The idea that they are suddenly "seeing the light about the racism in their midst" is ludicrous. The most optimistic reading (which is not far from your cynical reading) is that they are abandoning a symbol of racism that has become politically inconvenient. Which is not unimportant--the symbol should be gone--but that's a hell of a long cry from abandoning the underlying racism.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:06 AM
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237 before seeing 236, of course.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:06 AM
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Meanwhile, I've failed to give a sort of silent golf clap to 198.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:08 AM
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think she needs to get over the traitor thing

If it helps, you could suggest that for "traitors" we substitute "vicious racists bent on keeping millions of people enslaved and tortured."

(Yes, yes, I know it's not really that simple and class and privilege and conscription and Northern racism.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:16 AM
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242: "Nobody's perfect!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:19 AM
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238: Although it does include ...no man can cause more grief than the one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancesters."

But my recollection is that it is basically a long-winded plea of "Yes, yes, we know, we're working on it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:19 AM
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it's nasty and counterproductive to "call people's ancestors traitors."

This is kind of mystifying to me. As I have mentioned here before, I can go up a specific branch of my family tree right to Alexander Stephens. That is a source of neither pride nor shame, being 100% beyond my control, but just an interesting curiosity. I suppose it would be one thing if it was my father or grandfather being condemned, but a guy who died almost 100 years before I was born? Whatever.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:49 AM
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the Confederate flag is a problem, but who are you to get sanctimonious at us about it?

Not, of course, my actual reaction.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:53 AM
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Couldn't Wikipedia find a picture taken while he was alive?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 11:53 AM
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228, 234: could it be a case of the cliche "they can get close but they can't get too big"?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:02 PM
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it's nasty and counterproductive to "call people's ancestors traitors."

Calling it "counterproductive" is concern trolling. Whether or not it's productive depends on what you're trying to produce.

Sparing the feelings of treasonous racists is a strategy that had 100 years or so to produce a more just society, and it didn't.

On the other hand, it did produce a bunch of racists who thought they were entitled to gentle treatment - so yeah, productive in that sense.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:13 PM
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I hadn't seen 231 until it was reprised: I'd assume there's nothing much wrong with her politics once the immediate flap is over.

Really? Given the description of the case in 228?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:16 PM
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217.2 I think he was probably no more monstrous than most people, though the cause he fought for turned out to be a bad one.

Turned out to be a bad one? Just turned out that way. One day it just turned out that way. Suddenly it was clear, the war situation developed not necessarily to the Confederacy's advantage. That's a really infelicitous turn of phrase. Meh, at the very least.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:27 PM
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I wish I could cut and paste her whole comment, alas, but I wonder if some of her reaction to this is due to her being an archivist. She has an overdeveloped sense of the dignity of preserving things?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:40 PM
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247: "The Little Pale Star from Georgia" -- apparently he was quite sickly -- 5'7" and less than 100 pounds.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:40 PM
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Turned out to be a bad one? Just turned out that way.

I agree that it's an infelicitous turn of phrase, but otherwise, yes: I'm not, myself, a moral realist*. I don't think that such truths (about, in this case, the utter immorality of chattel slavery) are clearly written in stone from the get-go, such that we are called upon to see into the future.

THAT SAID, a contesting perspective was perfectly available to southerners at the time, and it's not as though they can plead that ... Hey, everybody else thought the sun revolved around the earth too!

So I change my mind.

* Please let me leave aside that philosophical moral realism has many dimensions that are not nuts.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:41 PM
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252: Tell her the flag belongs in a museum, then, where it can certainly be preserved.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:45 PM
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245: There go my hopes of seeing apo in a Southern By the Grace of God belly shirt.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:45 PM
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has many dimensions that are not nuts

I like the idea of dimensions that are nuts! Length, width, height, pecan, filbert.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:47 PM
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That's a really infelicitous turn of phrase. Meh, at the very least.

"I didn't say we weren't fun, but..."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 12:48 PM
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I don't have much patience for the "monster" special pleading. No one is talking about digging up their corpses and flogging them. But really now maybe acknowledging that their cause wasn't the most just thing ever, the source of all pride, isn't all that much to ask.

I wonder how many of these Confederate vets were flying the flag in the post war years. I think the answer is that it was a vanishingly small percentage -- they didn't need to fly the flag to prove they aren't monsters, and neither do their great grandchildren.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 1:05 PM
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||

I know y'all have moved on to masturbating over the corpses of dead Southrons, but Jacobin is good on Charleston.

Almost posted the link to "we live so white white" thead, cause:

Charleston, one-half black a generation ago, is now a two-thirds white city. African Americans were priced out of the housing market when gentrifiers moved in, drawn to the centuries-old buildings, with world-class restaurants down the block.

Flag's comin' down cause Charleston is getting to be an international city, and the racism must be moved to the suburbs where the visiting bigs don't have to see it.

The German chemical giant Hoechst came first, followed by tire giant Michelin, auto parts maker Bosch, shoemaker Adidas, and then Hitachi. BMW. Honda, Volvo. Boeing.

Also, in the article, besides what you would expect, is a neat story about the longshoreman/s union (4th busies port), overwhelmingly black, 45k marching against Stars and Bars, and most importantly, tight connections, contact, and active support from longshoreman and dockworkers overseas, again Europe.

SC turning from racist conservative hell to racist neoliberal hell: same ole, but with much better optics. Meh.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 5:04 PM
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On the history, this is fantastic, and even manages to make a totally reasonable "worse than Nazis" point.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:43 PM
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261: That's excellent.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 7:46 PM
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255: So do you, Dr. Jones!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:00 PM
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Some of the replies to 261's link are...something else.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 8:31 PM
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264 Wow, I RT'd that last night but didn't look at the replies. Something else indeed.

260.1 C'mon Bob, you know us better than that. You know the rules here.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-24-15 9:00 PM
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I think this is the Lump of Political Capital Fallacy - that you get elected with, say, 250 Politics Points, and if you spend 150 on getting the Health Care Reform upgrade then you won't be able to afford the 175 you need to unlock the Get Out Of Stupid Foreign War upgrade.

Well, obviously not. First you buy the Reduced Policy Cost upgrade.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-25-15 4:40 AM
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