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Blinded by the white

The parental kidnapping story that started in North Yarmouth, Maine, and ended in Salem, New Hampshire continues to unfold, and finally a reason for the parents' alleged action -- taking their 19-year-old daughter by force to get an abortion in Massachusetts or New York -- is starting to emerge.

An incredibly stupid, ignorant, and hateful reason, but a reason nonetheless.

It seems that they didn't approve of the girl's choice of boyfriends. It seems she had the gumption to get knocked up by a black guy.

I'm ashamed to admit that there's a streak of racism in northern New England. When I grew up, I had a drunken family member proclaim Dionne Warwick as "a good singer for a darkie." I had an elderly neighbor who used to yell at his TV whenever one of those "jigaboos" won on The Price Is Right or some other game show. But for the most part, it's largely a genteel, impersonal racism -- they don't wish any ill on black people, but they just don't want to deal with the whole issue. And the fact that the Northern New England states (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are very homogenous white states makes that an easy attitude to maintain.

While I'm on the subject of racism, a couple of people questioned why I used such inflammatory, racist language in the first part of "The White Man's Burden." To answer them, yes, it was a deliberate choice on my part. The United States was a racist society at that point, and our anger towards the Japanese was fueled, in part, by the sense of racial superiority that had been challenged by their very successful attack at Pearl Harbor. We'd denigrated them, mocked them, and looked down on them for decades, and suddenly they were showing that not only might they be our equals, but perhaps even our superiors -- they had hit us, hit us hard, and it was several months before we even began to fight back successfully. There was a lot of anger over that, and I thought the best way to convey that outrage was to use some of the language and terminology that was in common usage at the time.

That people questioned it didn't surprise me. I expected it; in fact, I was hoping for it. But what did surprise me is that no one is calling me racist or sexist on titling the entire series "The White Man's Burden" -- a title that should be explained on Thursday.


Comments (23)

Jay - I never thou... (Below threshold)

Jay -

I never thought you were intending a racist or sexist meaning in the 'White Man's Burden' title - I have some thoughts on where you are going with it, but will wait to see on Thursday.

I do think you are setting yourself up for bit of writing that will be difficult to pull off well - but I'm hoping you 'stick the landing', as it were...

Put me down as also surprised (though pleased) that the obvious accusations have yet to fly.

Another thing about raci... (Below threshold)
B's Freak:

Another thing about racism as I observed it in Maineis that it seems more of an extension of a basic mistrust of outsiders in general, you know, us people "from away".

One example from the 1970s.... (Below threshold)
cirby:

One example from the 1970s...

I was in school in Texas (one that had been forcibly integrated), and there had been a few minor violent incidents and protests, but nothing major.

At about the same time, they were integrating Boston's schools. To the tune of huge protests, some riots, and people throwing rocks at school buses full of black kids. Stronger reactions, in many ways, than all but the worst cases I ever heard of from the 1950s.

The "understanding" North showed a level of bigotry that I've seldom seen anywhere in the South.


Seems that George Allen doe... (Below threshold)
Georgie Boy:

Seems that George Allen doesn't like his Jewish ancestry mentioned in public.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/18/AR2006091801014.html


Makes him very very angry to the point of instability. George Allen ... one angry Jew.

Racism is a very bad thing.... (Below threshold)

Racism is a very bad thing. White and Black and Brown are all the same.
The family should have gotten both of them married. It is the correct thing to do. As without marriage the child will face a lot of problems and will be insulted in society.
I hope however that the girl and boy had not comited such deeds before marraige.
However let us try to stop the colors of the skin change our bbrains. Our bloods are all red. I am sure of this fact.

Georgie Boy subscribes to t... (Below threshold)

Georgie Boy subscribes to the Nuremburg laws of the Nazis, I see.

Georgie and the rest of the... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Georgie and the rest of the Left want to know for sure which racial categories to put people in.

You know - for keeping things orderly, for future reference...

I'm not sure about all this... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

I'm not sure about all this "not from our area" stuff. Looks to me like a typical very liberal family in which the parents would give everyone the impression that they are strongly for civil rights blah, blah, blah until blackness lands on their doorstep when their precious little white girl gets knocked up by a black. All of a sudden the latent racism comes out and they go nuts! Typical liberal hypocracy. Also sad that they felt it's so easy to get an abortion that they can bring their daughter in kicking and screaming and still get the 'procedure' done!

It is not racist to point o... (Below threshold)
HeritageNOThate:

It is not racist to point out that George Allen is Jewish. Where is the racism? Allen should embrace his Jewish heritage. Allen is the one being racist. By ignoring where he comes from he implys there is something wrong with it.

... oh and a Jewish person is often called a 'Jew'. There is nothing wrong with that. ... o

Heritage, not hate right? Isn't that what Allen would say?

... oh and save the Nazi B.S., it is soooooooo overplayed these days. If you luv Nazis' so much move to Germany and join up with some skinheads. There are no Nazis in the USA.

Hey, GeminiChuck,W... (Below threshold)
nihilistic_disintegration:

Hey, GeminiChuck,

Where was all the stuff about the parents being Liberals in the stories? I didn't see any of that strongly for civil rights blah, blah, blah that you mentioned. If you could provide a link or something, that would be nice.

Why ask the question? It's... (Below threshold)

Why ask the question? It's never asked about whether a politician's grandparents were Pentacostal. It's never asked whether they were Welsh. Those questions are not considered relevant.

But Jewish heritage was VERY important to the reporter who asked her detailed question. The question is, of what possible public importance could that question of heritage be?

The answer is: none. Unless you dislike Jews, in which case, it makes all the difference in the world.

The question is, of what... (Below threshold)
cirby:

The question is, of what possible public importance could that question of heritage be?

The answer is: none. Unless you dislike Jews, in which case, it makes all the difference in the world.

...which plays to two separate groups. The bigoted Republicans who don't like Jews and the bigoted Democrats who don't like Jews. Overall, a win/win for the Dems.

nihilistic_disintegration -... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

nihilistic_disintegration - understand this:

Conservatives are thinkers. Liberals can't admit they are lying, hypocrit, liberals - we can tell by their actions and deeds. I dont need a stinking link to understand the obvious.

Pardon me, but hasn't anyon... (Below threshold)
Xennady:

Pardon me, but hasn't anyone else noticed that this guy is a sh*tbag who should have been in prison a long time ago? In fact,I'll bet this fine young man won't chip in a dime for the upbringing of his child.Instead he will spend his time in and out of jail until he kills someone or gets killed.Meanwhile I suspect the US taxpayer will end up paying for the baby.Now maybe-hopefully-I'm wrong but I've seen that scenario play out many times.But this misses the point of the post-right Jay Tea? You wanted to condemn the racist parents.Please don't think complaining about that-their conduct was indefensible as well as criminal-but that isn't the only thing to be commented upon here.You wrote that she had the "gumption" to get knocked up by a black man.Well, it seems to me that she had the incredible,unforgivable stupidity of getting knocked up by a man completely unable and possibly even unwilling to raise his child or at least make a financial contribution to that considerable expense.To me that is most important aspect of the story-not anything done by her idiotic parents.This child will likely be suffering from the poor judgement of this silly teenage girl long after his or her grandparents are dead.

"This child will likely be ... (Below threshold)

"This child will likely be suffering from the poor judgement of this silly teenage girl long after his or her grandparents are dead."

I know Xennady, that pow pow innocent little white chile was jus knocked up by that big black buck negro. I guess she couldn't help herself, after all, we all know those bucks can hypnotize those innocent white chillen.

And GeminiChuck, don't you just love those hypocritical liberals. I mean you and I both know that conservatives have no problem with their daughters dating a negro. Aint that right Gemini?

You gotta love it.

BTW, Jay I didn't scream bigotry about your article, I knew where you were going. But I have one little problem with it. Aren't we doing the same thing to the Muslims that we did to the Japanese pre World War II? Just a thought. But I am sure you will have an explanation for me on Thursday ;)

I know Xennady, that pow... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I know Xennady, that pow pow innocent little white chile was jus knocked up by that big black buck negro.

You do realize this is exactly the opposite of what Xennady said, right? The girl made a bad choice (getting pregnant, et cetera) and picked a bad guy to hook up with (his bad record isn't caused by his skin color, but by his own choices).

It's really obvious which side of the political spectrum is churning out the most bigots, however...

Aren't we doing th... (Below threshold)
Aren't we doing the same thing to the Muslims that we did to the Japanese pre World War II?

We didn't do anything to the Japanese pre-WWII except economic sanctions, which were imposed because they were raping China.

I'm definitely looking forw... (Below threshold)

I'm definitely looking forward to your thoughts on the White Man's Burden... we spent a pretty good chunck of time on it in the "European Colonialism" class I took in college.

We didn't do anything to... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

We didn't do anything to the Japanese pre-WWII except economic sanctions, which were imposed because they were raping China.

And "raping" wasn't used figuratively:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre

I was in the 4th grade in 1... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I was in the 4th grade in 1974 - I remember well the day that the bus full of black kids came to Melrose - an affluent bedroom community north of Boston. My father, whom I love despite the following fact, was and still is Archie Bunker. He informed us that we were NOT to have any contact with those "G*[email protected]* [email protected]@rs", and I was petrified when an adorable little black girl wanted to be my friend. It wasn't long before I realized my dad was full of misguided hate, and I found most of those kids to be great kids who were scared witless - the black kids back in Roxbury and Mattapan treated them like outcasts, and so did the white communities that were forced to "welcome" them. From my point of view, things ironed out pretty quickly.

Here is Maine, we had an incident very recently that I suspect you all haven't heard. It's shocking: http://bangordailynews.com/news/t/hancock.aspx?articleid=140225&zoneid=178

He turned himself in, by the way: http://bangordailynews.com/news/t/hancock.aspx?articleid=140404&zoneid=178

The good folks of the community were outraged, and had a huge gathering a few days later to embrace the poor girl and try to atone for the sins of the jackasses. The following link tells a bit about the rally, as well as mentioning another recent hate crime in Maine, where another jackass rolled a pig's head into a mosque: http://bangordailynews.com/news/t/columnist.aspx?articleid=140489&zoneid=556

The Japanese during WW II w... (Below threshold)

The Japanese during WW II were just as racist against non-Japanese. THeir hands are not clean.

The George Allen stuff is h... (Below threshold)
Robert:

The George Allen stuff is hilarious.

He's courting the bigoted vote, and gets called out for his ancestry.
Too funny!!

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

He's courting the bigote... (Below threshold)
cirby:

He's courting the bigoted vote, and gets called out for his ancestry.

...by the bigots in the other party.

Yeah, pretty funny, all right, but not in the way you seem to think.




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