did someone muck with the backend here

Re: How to Survive, Be Safe and Thrive at a Predominantly White Institution

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This thread is the perfect encapsulation of the unbearable whiteness of Unfogged.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:51 PM
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We all knew that, and we all knew we all knew that, but by your posting now we all know that we all know that we all know this. (As I understand it the traditional solution in mutual-to-common knowledge collapse is ritual mass suicide at noon.)

OP and article are self-evidently right. The term "historically predominately white institutions" is useful.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 7:59 PM
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Rereading the article, I misquoted it and it actually said that PWIs are still "historically white." That's a better conceptual frame providing groundwork for the PWI concept and normalizes HBCUs,


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:03 PM
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This was going to be the first post in years with zero comments, teo! What's wrong with you?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:13 PM
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Racism, I guess.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:28 PM
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Why in earth would one (looking up this guy's bio) choose to be the only black kid in classes at Central Oklahoma University? I mean I guess the answer is "it was free" but still, seems like a horrendous amount of hassle for the prestige of a COU degree. Plus, what this guy reports from his philosophy professor wasn't a microaggression, it was straight up actionable (in any real world sense) discrimination.

I feel like a lot of the best advice for minority, especially black, students is "don't integrate too much and don't go anywhere near a place that forces you to." When I was in college there was a dean of students who made a big push to desegregate the de facto segregated residential halls (there was officially an African American culture themed dorm at the time, and beyond that first-year black and hispanic kids would congregate in dorms on one part of campus, whereas first year bro or bro-inclined whiteys would live in a completely different part of campus). Changing the de facto extreme residential segregation clearly would have been a big benefit to pacifying the dominant white bro culture, which is why I believe many of the faculty were in favor, but as far as I could see at the time and since offered absolutely no benefit whatsoever to the black kids, other than the opportunity to feel even more isolated. It's not like the black kids couldn't mingle but the administration was keen on smashing places where the black kids could feel unambiguously comfortable just so the white parts of canpus would not look so visibly and retrograded-ly segregated.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:48 PM
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there was officially an African American culture themed dorm at the time

It's still there, and the residential integration effort seemed pretty successful when I was there (long after it had been completed). I don't know how the black kids felt about it, of course, but there wasn't any vocal opposition as far as I could tell.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:54 PM
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The subsequent push to create "residential colleges" for upperclassmen, which began during my time, seemed a lot more dubious in terms of what problems it was purporting to solve and how, but for all I know it's been successful too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 8:57 PM
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I dunno, it was a big issue when I was there. I always thought it was great (having been to fancy ass high schools with a tasteful smattering of talented minority admittees) that you could go to Technically a Member of the Ivy League University from a full on black or Latino neighborhood in NYC and live college life pretty comfortably in your own non-integrated world (or not, if you wanted to). I had one friend (a black kid from fancy ass high school) who lived in the black dorm for four years there and I think it was incredibly great for him, though we significantly lost touch in college as a result. Same story, sort of, for another black friend from fancy high school who went to Steinford and thrived in a black fraternity in a way he never had in high school.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:06 PM
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I had one friend (a black kid from fancy ass high school) who lived in the black dorm for four years there and I think it was incredibly great for him, though we significantly lost touch in college as a result.

Again, it's still there and people can totally still do this if they want.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:08 PM
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And it was such a non-issue when I was there that I didn't even realize there had been a racial component to the change until you mentioned it here years later.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:12 PM
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Whatever you might think about the New Inquiry, they published two essays on being black in academia that have haunted me since I read them. In particular, this one line: "I was being poisoned. It happened in big and small ways: the surprise on some professors' faces when I understood what they said..." (I immediately thought: oh yeah, I know what white academics are like: I bet that happens all the fucking time. Unending cringe.)

The other essay was this one, by Sofia Samatar:
http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/skin-feeling/

Well, you ask, should we dissolve all the committees, then? Keep faculty of color off them? What's your solution? Try to read the demand for solutions and your frustration for what they are: products of the logic of diversity work, which wants to get the debt paid, over with, done. Diversity work is slow and yet it's always in a rush. It can't relax. It can't afford the informal gesture, the improvised note, the tangential question that moves off script, away from representation into some weird territory of you and me talking in this room right now. Diversity work can't afford to entertain the thought that some debts can't be paid, that they might just be past due. With agonizing slowness, this work grinds on toward payment--that is, toward the point where it will no longer exist. It's a suicidal project.

Have I linked it before? Highly recommended.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:22 PM
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I wasn't going to respond to this but I'd say that surviving, being safe, and thriving are different goals and might require different skills.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:29 PM
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To expand on 10, because I'm sure everyone is fascinated by the details of housing policy at Tigre's and my alma mater, the themed houses are an exception to the general policy that all freshmen live on North Campus. Incoming freshmen can apply to live in one of them regardless of where it's located. I think most of them are actually on North rather than West, since it's bigger, but I can't remember offhand if that's true of the black one. (It's definitely true of the Native American one, which of course contains very few actual Native Americans since most of the ones who can get into the Ivy League go to Dartmouth because it's free.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:39 PM
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Yeah, eventually they maintained the black and latino dorms (called theme houses) as an option for first years, but eliminated the de facto white bro part of campus as an option for first years. Which was probably exactly the right solution. The administration's push in my day was a bit different: the plan was to eliminate the obviously racially oriented theme houses and force everyone into residential colleges, which sparked huge protests from the black and latino kids, quite rightly IMO.

(The new residential colleges also seem stupid to me and a fake-ass attempt to be Harvard or Yale, but that's a completely different issue. I'm glad they kept the ethnic theme houses though.)

And more generally my experience has led me to be super suspicious of integration and "diversity" as goals in and of themselves in historically white educational institutions, as opposed to simply giving minority kids access to institutions in sufficient numbers (and power within those institutions) to create their own spaces within them that more or less say "fuck off" to white kids. Obviously there are constitutional problems with making that goal explicit, but since I'm not a university administrator and I think that Justice Powell was wrong in this issue (in basically a genteel racist way) I can say what I want. I don't like the word "safe space" because it can create so much bullshit, but more simply minorities on college campuses should have the opportunity to live together and support one another without forced integration, however done and however well-intentioned.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:42 PM
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The new residential colleges also seem stupid to me and a fake-ass attempt to be Harvard or Yale

Yeah, I agree entirely. A stupid and insanely expensive solution to a non-problem.

I hadn't realized that eliminating the ethnic houses was part of the original plan. I agree that abandoning that part of it was a good call. And I totally get what you mean about the limits of "diversity" as an end goal. Comity!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:46 PM
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15 to 10/11 and before seeing 14. I think all the theme houses in my day were on North Campus, except the one for musicians was on West Campus in I believe a now-destroyed building (can the musician's dorm still exist? That was a more "practical" segregation idea -- all the musicians could live in one place and be noisy amd everyone else could work or sleep).


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:46 PM
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The musicians' one was still there in my day, at least, though maybe in a different building. And yeah, most or all of the theme houses were on North, in part because there's just way more space there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:48 PM
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is Dartmouth technically a member of the Ivy League


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:48 PM
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yes


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:49 PM
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My parents went to Tigre and teo's school in the late 60s and lived in what seems, whenever they describe it, like it was a ethnic theme house for the ethnic group of twerps; is that still there?


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 9:59 PM
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Hm, hard to say. The house that most closely describes to me was apparently founded in 1970.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:02 PM
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But it is still there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:02 PM
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Tell/u/ride I'm not sure why I'm googleproofing.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:03 PM
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Ah, that's not the one I was thinking of. Yes, that one's still there and still has the same reputation AFAIK.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:05 PM
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It had a reputation for lots of drug use in my day.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:06 PM
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I would say "book nerds"* rather than twerps if it's what I'm thhinking of, but yes as of the 90s (there is segregated housing for twerps, aka twerp-oriented fraternities, but not co-ed ones so unless your parents were unusually progressive for the late 60s they probably weren't both members).

*I remember someone telling me this in college. "Isn't that, like, the house for book nerds?" Technically in the Ivy League!


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:07 PM
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Now I wonder what Teo was thinking of. And who knew the book nerds were on drugs by the 00s! Truly thenworld changes rapidly.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:08 PM
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I mean, I didn't have much direct contact with people there. That's just what I heard from others. (And I was thinking of Ris/ley.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:10 PM
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Well I'm glad I got the right impression of it. I think my mom hied up from the Great Plains fresh faced and really excited about studying Greek and then was like WAIT this is a four year program in watching Alan Bloom basically try to seduce teenage boys, I was misinformed. There was almost certainly a lot of drug use.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:12 PM
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And it does not seem like it was particularly integrated unless you count overlap between Eve Sedgwick and Paul Wolfowitz as integration.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:14 PM
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Oh, I guess I could see it. I think of a "twerp" more as a bowtie wearing little dick. The Risley types were more art freaks who were into sober, over-explicit sexual experimentation and truly horrendous performance art, as opposed to the drunken, hazy, vaguely shame-filled sexual experimentation and performance-art-free zones that we normals preferred.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:14 PM
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32: Yeah, I can see that. The Risley types were definitely super into drugs in my experience, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:17 PM
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32.1 is describing the Common Twerp but 32.2 definitely Art Twerps.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:17 PM
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Anyway, despite my regret at never having sex in college, boy am I ever glad I never got sucked into any of those subcultures.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:19 PM
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But all of this white navel-gazing is totally off-topic from the OP, and we still haven't hit 40 comments.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:20 PM
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35 I think Alan Bloom was dead by then anyway so idk if that subculture would have improved your chances of sex.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:21 PM
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Well, not with him, obviously. But there were other people involved.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:23 PM
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But Teo, this is strangely on topic - Alan Bloom (for real) left Technically an Ivy League U in protest at the creation of the black dorm/theme house, which was the major result of black protests in 1968 that had the student center occupied by black panther types, etc. Bloom was pissed at the University's "capitulatuon" to the protests and the creation of the dorm, and so headed off to the Lair of Assholes and Den of Twerps, aka the University of Chicago.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:27 PM
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36 I mean the OP is v obviously correct and diversity as a goal in and of itself to the extent it limits marginalized groups' ability to greate supportive communities is generally pernicious, I think we figured everything out??


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:28 PM
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greate is totally a word it means "create great."


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:29 PM
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My current school turned out to be far whiter than I had expected, to be extent that our regional accreditors brought it up as a problem to fix. I don't think there's very much overt racism on campus, but from what I'm told it doesn't sound very comfortable to be a Black student here. There are also very few Black people in my field in general. If we restrict it to just African Americans with PhDs in my field, they'd fit into a pretty small room.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:34 PM
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Yes!!! There were guns involved in the cafeteria takeover which ok sounds like a lot for a cafeteria takeover, but if it got rid of Alan Bloom, hey. But it does seem like an institution that was--I don't want to say uniquely--but remarkably, riven by that racial conflict for a fancy NE school and one wonders if/how it contends with that institutional history


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:34 PM
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I stand corrected, and I have now read the OP link. I didn't know about 39 at all, but I'm not surprised. And to 40, I guess what I'd say is that it's striking that the author of the OP has stayed in Oklahoma, one of the most unabashedly racist states in the country (sorry, Clytie), and has continued to work on addressing these issues in a very hostile environment. Also, Ralph Ellison was also from Oklahoma, and his Invisible Man was a very important influence on how I think about racial issues in general. Everyone should read it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:36 PM
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(And Alan Bloom's hissy fit was basically a proximate cause of the Iraq war.)


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:36 PM
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Looking it up, Bloom went to Toronto first and the dorm wasn't built (though it had been demanded) when he left, so that isn't quite right. But it's close enough.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:36 PM
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There were guns involved in the cafeteria takeover which ok sounds like a lot for a cafeteria takeover, but if it got rid of Alan Bloom, hey. But it does seem like an institution that was--I don't want to say uniquely--but remarkably, riven by that racial conflict for a fancy NE school and one wonders if/how it contends with that institutional history

It is prominently displayed on campus, and was another important influence on my understanding of racial issues and universities' response to agitation over them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:38 PM
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Oklahoma is so racist, which is especially weird since basically everyone there is mixed (demos changing so idk now), and I'd never argue otherwise, I just want it to get credit for (1) being weird and (2) generating strange sometimes powerful and deeply personal strategies of resistance instead of the obvious solution of just getting the fuck out of Olkahoma which you see in the OP. But this is where I get into weird mysticism, which is not a road I expect anyone to follow me down.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:44 PM
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generating strange sometimes powerful and deeply personal strategies of resistance instead of the obvious solution of just getting the fuck out of Olkahoma which you see in the OP

Yeah, no, total credit for this to the OP link author. That's a hard row to hoe but it's good someone's doing it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:48 PM
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I dunno how well the University dealt with the history overall, but one of the guys with the machine gun and bandolier taking over the building later became a high-up on Wall Street and a trustee, and the guy they brought in to run the Africana center stayed there for years. Certainly one legacy was a commitment to specifically for-minorities housing that I don't think is quite as explicit at other schools.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:53 PM
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also sorrynotsorry for my reckless & relentless typos (Olkahoma wtf) but it's the price for the privilege of being exposed to my thoughts about my parents' dorm or threesome Tinder or exclusion of speedy trial time or whatever.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:53 PM
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Yeah, as elite universities go I think ours has a fairly good record on dealing with racial issues in response to the upheavals of the 1960s. Not perfect by any means, but definitely better than a lot of others.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:55 PM
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The same bandolier-to-Wall Street guy (as a trustee) set up a huge fund in the name of the President who was forced out as a result, who (ironically?) had recruited from poor black schools in NY State, giving TAILU a larger and poorer black population at the time than similar schools.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:56 PM
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Moving away for/after college is probably still the exception rather than the norm if you're not already living in a family or community where that's a common experience.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:58 PM
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50's interesting. I have no idea at all whether my school had minority-supportive housing and I wonder if that lack (of visibility if nothing else) was because the Great Boomer Protest Era there manifested in much whiter ways.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:58 PM
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55 cont or if the protests were the same and the admin was just shittier so less changed.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 10:59 PM
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53: And it definitely does still have a larger and poorer black population than similar schools (or at least did when I was there, and I doubt this has changed significantly). Part of this is just that it's bigger than most similar schools, and another part is that it's partly public which those schools are not, but even then I suspect it's more diverse than others.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:00 PM
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Right, basically a large faction of the faculty* (including especially Bloom) wanted the cops to basically shoot to kill the protestors, but the administration refused to do so an accepted most of their demands, and it worked out reasonably well.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:00 PM
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I'd definitely be down for hearing about some Oklahoma weird mysticism stories.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:00 PM
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55: Minority-supportive housing remains a super-important thing at the school in question in a way that I've never seen at any other school. (But then I don't have a comparable amount of experience with any other school.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:02 PM
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Right, basically a large faction of the faculty* (including especially Bloom) wanted the cops to basically shoot to kill the protestors, but the administration refused to do so an accepted most of their demands, and it worked out reasonably well.

Yes, this. The administration at the time showed an amazing amount of restraint in the face of student protests up to and including the armed occupation of important campus buildings, and as a result the school didn't become a flashpoint for national student unrest the way some other schools did. They made other mistakes, of course, and aren't unblemished heroes, but this was really a big deal in the context of what was going on nationally at the time and they do deserve credit for it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:07 PM
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I take it technically a member of the Ivy League doesn't have a college named for John C. Calhoun, stained glass windows depicting slavery, or a section of a residential college that into the 80s was still being referred to by white students as the "slave quarters".


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:11 PM
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One of my boyfriend's best friends is a black guy getting his philosophy PhD in Seattle. The stories are pretty harrowing. Philosophy seems to be one of the worst for being a bastion of pompous white men.*

*I still remember when CT had a post on how philosophy had the lowest number of women phds, and the comments were mostly "maybe it's because women are illogical thinkers who can't handle the rigor"


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:15 PM
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59 If I'm hanging around here I'm sure it'll seep out eventually. Michael Moon (a total mensch) describing the homoerotic catharsis of Pretty Boy Floyd is talking about the same stuff without saying bananas things like "a big thing you have to recognize is that dust storms actually speak," which you risk w me.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:22 PM
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My mom wanted to name me something insane and to convince her otherwise a friend brought her some academic article called something like onomastic individualism in Oklahoma that in a footnote said "I identified in a phone book a man named Olkahoma Bobo, I was unable to contact him but based on my research I would expect him to have a brother named Homa," and my mom said "oh come on, that's Uncle Doc, he didn't have any brother. His MIDDLE name was Homa." You see why I can't give up on this place.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:29 PM
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And that's indisputably and egregiously OT. Time for bed.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:30 PM
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Ugh OKLA Bobo not Oklahoma in the original article in 65


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08- 9-16 11:35 PM
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"Ethnic theme houses" were I am sure perfectly OK in practice but the name sounds dodgy as hell. I am imagining a kind of cheap Chinese restaurant decor: lots of signs in that fake-hanzi script, and plaster dragons painted gold on the walls.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 1:44 AM
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You had a great-uncle whose name was Okla Homa Bobo, nickname "Uncle Doc"? I am awestruck. That's even better than Barbecue Sauce Jones, not least because he actually existed.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 1:50 AM
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70 That's some hardcore Americana right there. The veritable motherlode.

And he was mentioned before in reply to a comment about one of your own remarkably named forbears.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:11 AM
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I missed that at the time.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:50 AM
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Huh, I wouldn't have singled out OK as a horrible place to be black. Lee's birthmother lived a mostly black life in OKC and the community there seemed healthy enough when we visited, though I'm sure it's less so in other places. But for big cities I'd expect Seattle or definitely Portland to be a less supportive place to grow up black.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 3:34 AM
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Bangalore is a good name for a prostitution business. It's almost Bond villainish.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 3:58 AM
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70 for what it's worth he was "not blood;" i.e. related by marriage so disavowable if necessary (unlike the state of Oklahoma). That was unnecessary, by all accounts a very nice guy. Here's the article it's incredible (JSTOR access necessary).


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 5:49 AM
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Wow that was a lot of "necessary."


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 5:49 AM
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65 made me laugh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:08 AM
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And I have JSTOR access so now I know it's real.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:09 AM
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Sadly final outcome I ended up with a very normal if slightly country name, curse the friend of my parents who intervened.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:14 AM
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I have the normalest name of all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:15 AM
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Hey, we beat 0 comments!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:20 AM
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"Survival Hint No. 3. White people are easily distracted. If you are cornered by an angry (or microangry) mob, start talking about your relatives' peculiar names, the New Yorker, Jonathan Franzen or post-WW1 politics, and sneak quietly away while their attention is elsewhere."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 6:25 AM
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I didn't post this when the thread went up, because wildly off-topic, but the related thing I recall was being confused about what I would now call but didn't then 'how to be an ally'. There's a story I've told here before, because I've told all of my stories here before, about a sociology class at the University of Chicago with one black woman in it. And a white kid, in some way that was reasonably related to what was going on, commented that it was interesting that tightly curled/kinky hair was a sex-linked characteristic: i.e. that black men had hair that naturally formed afros, while black women had straight or loosely curling hair. It didn't seem like a hostile thing to say, exactly, I'd guess he'd just never noticed a black woman who didn't straighten her hair, and thought it was naturally like that.

This was unusually ignorant by the standards even of the other white kids in the class, and there was sort of a universal WTF? murmur at him, and people starting to correct him. And then the professor put the black woman on the spot, to explain black hair to the ignorant kid from a position of knowledge.

And I was sitting there, knowing that this was not a good interaction, and the professor was being a real ass: the effect was to protect the ignorant white kid from looking like a fool by making basic facts about hair something arcane that only the black woman would have any reason to know, and turning her from a fellow student, for the moment, into a native informant or object of study. But I didn't do or say anything effective, or anything at all about it -- I didn't know her outside of class, and coming up to her out of the blue and saying "Man, that was fucked up," felt patronizing and weird (although in retrospect, probably would have been a good idea.)

There were a couple of things like that in law school: two black women who both had braids and sat together in my 1L Civ Pro class, and Dean Sexton kept on mixing them up even though they looked nothing alike (even if you were bad at faces like I am, wildly different skin colors). That one, I commented on to one of them, just because I felt like someone should say "I saw him do that." And I did feel as if I had been pointlessly patronizing.

Eh, this is not an important problem in terms of it making me feel awkward, but figuring out how to treat people well is not simple.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 7:52 AM
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And I did feel as if I had been pointlessly patronizing.

I once read an essay by a woman basketball player who consistently does encouraging sports talk while she's playing. ("nice block", "good hands") She was in a pick-up game when a very minor NBA player joined and dominated the entire game. Since it was her habit, she continued her patter, including complimenting him. After the game, she said she was feeling ridiculous about having complimented someone who was so clearly better than the rest of them. But he came over to thank her; he said that since he got relatively good, he never hears nice things like that, only trash talk or critiques. He really appreciated that she does that.

Since that essay, I try to say those things or reaching-out things, even when they're awkward or even to people above my pay grade. I figure that if I say it all around, then saying it in awkward situations isn't patronizing, just my habit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 8:51 AM
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73 I think you're more or less right in that the black communities in OK have been self-sustaining & historically not egregiously depressed at least as compared to the white communities (except for uh the few times they were burned down) but I'm not surprised that at loci of integration you have white people including philosophy professors saying really baldly stupid shit. Black history in Oklahoma may be an object lesson on the points made in the article in the o.p. (not that anything in the article is uniquely Oklahoman). (Also OK has got a really high rate of interracial relationships, and ime a really high rate of abject racists IN interracial relationships idk what to make of that.)


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 10:20 AM
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85: Yeah, really the strongest argument I'm willing to make about OK is "I'll bet there are a lot of places even worse." I stand by that, and I don't think we disagree! And abject racists in interracial relationships are not rare anywhere, as far as I can tell.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 10:24 AM
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86 right. Also slaveholding in OK was mostly done by the tribes (which also often welcomed runaway slaves so who knows), so it's had to reckon with that sin in a different way from other territories idk it's all weird.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 10:37 AM
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Also OK has got a really high rate of interracial relationships, and ime a really high rate of abject racists IN interracial relationships idk what to make of that.

I did some stats-checking, and it looks like it might be more down to marriages involving Native Americans, not as much Black or Hispanic people. In Table 7's breakdown by state here, Oklahoma did indeed rank really high in interracial relationships (17.2% of marriages, 28.5% of opposite-sex unmarried partners, second only to Hawaii). But this other presentation breaks marriages out by type of racial combination (by county, not state), and in the county maps, OK only really stands out for "Non-Hispanic White / Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native" (although also for marriages with one or two interracial people).

The white/Black marriage map is much sparser-looking in general: the counties with the highest rates are Geary, KS (Junction City), Liberty, GA (Hinesville), and Comanche, OK (Lawton), but the rest of Oklahoma doesn't really stand out. Similar with Hispanic.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 11:59 AM
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I think that's actually a list of large army bases? Hence it has nothing to do with the state at all.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 12:55 PM
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89: You mean the three counties in 88.last? Yeah, that looks plausible - Fts. Riley, Stewart, and Sill respectively. And size relative to county population will also play a role.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:13 PM
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And counties #4 and #5 also fit that pattern - Bell and Coryell County, TX, across which Ft. Hood sprawls.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:16 PM
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What the link in the OP reminds me of is the article in the (possibly lefty alternative) student paper written by a black student explaining why they clustered together so much. Before I read the article, I'm not sure I'd noticed it so much with black students (my dept was practically 0% A-A), but I certainly had with Asian students, and it felt frustrating and exclusionary*, so it was super-helpful to get it from the POC POV.

*one of the things I didn't understand well at the time was that the Asian mutual support crossed all (apparent) lines: foreign students, first generation, second generation, different nationalities, etc.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-10-16 2:43 PM
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