sanromero

Socio/Political and Historical analysis necessary for my peace of mind.

Month: September, 2013

Tokenism

Why is it necessary for a black person to say “I do not speak for all black people…” after giving an opinion on a subject? Why don’t white people find it necessary to say “Obviously, I do not speak for all white people but…”? Why is it that white people are automatically granted individual autonomy on almost every subject, but many people of color are not granted similar autonomy? In fact, if we extend this generality further, many minorities are often snatched from their perspective groups and then forced to be speak on behalf of the category society has placed them in.

This phenomenon actually causes a lot of trouble. You see, when your actions and words not only reflect yourself put also are forced to reflect your entire group, and you have no say in which group people place you in, your individuality gets chipped away at. Many people of privilege do not know or understand what it feels like to not be able to talk for yourself.  Many people take their “individuality status” for granted, and assume this is the norm. Most minorities recognize though, that this is not the norm.

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Manufacturing Consent: A Necessary Framework for Media Consumption

So it has occurred to me that if I am to engage in proper media analysis on this blog, that I need to build the proper foundation first. In that, there are conclusions that will be reached in future analysis, that may seem like non sequiturs and thus destined to be misunderstood. That is, if someone is ignorant about the topic of media analysis, then they will not understand or keep up with the various conclusions reached. As such I would have to be forced to either lay out the basics in every single post about media analysis, or build the proper framework now such that everyone will be on the same page.

I hate constantly being stuck at a 101 level because the person I am talking to had not done their HW. As such, in order to bring this conversation to the level that I require… I need to lay out a proper framework that will be necessary for any future analysis of corporate media. That framework, can, in fact, be found in Naom Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent. However, the book is super duper long, and is written in a style that I know most people hate. I would just throw every mther fcker there… but… practically speaking very few will end up taking up that advice and end up looking at the source material. So, let me just instead summarize the very basics that would be found in the book.

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I Don’t Care If You Are Not Offended, That Is Still Racist.

Here is a thing that pisses me the fck off often… the phrase “I was not offended, so I don’t think that was racist”.. I mean… Since when does racism have to personally offend you for it to be officially raicist? Fck you…. that sht is racist whether you are insulted or not.

This goes for any subject as well, be it homophobia, be it transphobia, be it orientalism, or be it sexism… just because you are not personally insulted does not mean that you can therefore rationally conclude weather or not something is bigoted. That is the fcking stupidest way to go around looking to spot bigotry, and I am fcking tired of seeing it.. especially tired of seeing it from fellow minorities.

That phrase is especially damaging, as a result of tokenism, if you are a member of a minority group and you take it upon yourself to pronounce that, because you are not personally offended, therefore all minorities who are, might be are overreacting or irrational. People are way too comfortable sending out this random minority to say “I was not offended by that.. thus it can’t be bigoted!”.. that sht is extra fcking annoying dogg!

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Ambivalent sexism

You ever compliment a woman on her beauty, telling her to smile more to show it off, only to have her look at you with disdain? Ever hold a door for a woman only to then see her uncomfortable, and insist she can do it herself? You know what the first gut reaction of most males, and some females, are to the this type of female reaction? C’mon… you know… it is to call them btches, which is a highly volatile sexist reaction. Yet, what if I told you that it is not just this plausible negative reaction that can be construed as sexist, but in fact the actions before that (the door holding) are in fact sexist as well, what would you say?

Now, most, highly sexist people, who read that last line will have a gut reaction that tries to dismiss such a claim as “radical” feminism. The use of the term “radical” here is just the idea that such things are “taken too far” and thus no longer rational. A lot of people will not take such claims (door holding for women is part of sexism) seriously.. and the ones who have an aggressive reaction to such claims, are the ones who are probably the most sexist.  These people probably think in stereotypical fashions about what gender roles women and men must take.

What I want to do here, is to make a framework that enables us to understand why such behavior can be in fact sexist. This modern framework will allow us to unpack sexist behavior and also to predict sexist behavior. It is a tool that will allow us to see past the clutter of sexist gendered norms, and instead embrace a more complex and accurate understanding of what sexism looks like. Ambivalent sexism is the theoretical framework we can use to unmask the way modern sexism operates.

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Awesome Media Consumption

You know what I fcking love?

I love music that has a god damn message. Now, while I can digg music that don’t – I mean that sht still makes my body rock and head bumb – I love music that do.

You know what I fcking hate? I hate all these haterz that hate on hip-hop and act like this is “bad for the black community.” I hate people who like music, but have to preference that with “except hip-hop”.. Man, I bet 99% of the time these mofos that say that sht are racist as fck.

I mean ‘cmon dude.. Rock, Country, Pop.. all that sht is bad, all that sht has built in sexism, racism, homophobia..etc.. They are no different from hop-hop… and yet hip-hop gets concentrated on as if it is the only one that reflected bigoted cultural trends. Man, everyone does that sht, and while that do not make it right, and while I do got a problem  with music that is bigoted as fck… to unfairly concentrate on hip-hop like this, as if it is the source of the problem, is just racist.

I am however, really fcking picky on what I chose to listen to these dayz. I mean, I will bumb my head on the radio to mostly whatever, but I ain’t ganna buy tracks from anyone unless they got not only good music but good lyrics and a good message. You see, it is a whole lot harder to make a hit with a message, than it is to make a hit without one.

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Modern Propaganda : How to Lie, Without lying.

Why do we lie?

Well we lie when the facts do not fit within the framework we want to push forward. We lie to make ourselves look better than the picture the facts reveal. We lie to cover our mistakes, to uplift our egos, and most of all, to cover up moral wrongs we were responsible for.

As we grow into proper citizens, we learn that lying, is actually kind of hard to do. You see when the facts are brought to light and they are compared to our lies, we put ourselves in an un-winnable situation. As we develop, we begin to understand that the best lies have the ability to have plausible deniability when caught.

So, we begin not to lie, but to tell half-truths. We tell one side of the story, we reveal only the facts that aid our framework and are careful not to reveal facts that work against it. However, half-truths have the same drawbacks as lies.. in that when the facts are revealed, we are then asked why we only presented these facts but not the others. While the situation is better than before, it is still not a good one to be in.

Finally, we figure out a different method – a method that often times can go completely unnoticed. We find a way to lead to the wrong conclusion without telling one lie or half truth.

How can I lead you to a false conclusion without ever telling a single lie?

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A Sociological Framework Around US Media

So I have been talking about social forces and implicit bias, describing how culture has the ability to impact our lives and points of views – often times more than we would like or be aware of. Now, if you are up on your social justice game and are culturally aware.. you are also going to see how easily this analysis holds when we analyze things like, US Foreign Policy and Corporate Media. Meaning, you are going to have a really good ability to spot BS – or as intellectuals like to call it, the ability to spot “modern propaganda” directed at you.

Now, modern propaganda is a term that is really mis-understood. When people see this term, they usually role their eyes and think that anyone who says it, must be a cooky conspiracy theorist. The reality is though, that modern propaganda is real – read Noam Chomsky’s Manufactured Consent if you want your mind blown. It does not take the form of shadowy figures controlling the world through subliminal messages.. that is just Hollywood donkey piss. (subliminal messages actually do not have a strong scientific bases, and their effects, when measured, are actually pretty trivial. Of the studies that measure an effect, a lot of them have technical issues such as sample size or selection bias)

The reality is that supraliminal messages, live advertising or movies or news, has a much larger impact radius which can be, and often is used (see the success of american anti-cigarette campaigns), to change cultural pressures. Modern propaganda is not some fool-proof way to actually brainwash someone… what is instead, is the outcome of various social pressures. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon due to social structures built around US  media. The various social pressures we have already explored through racism, sexism, homophobia.. etc… Those same social pressures that we accept can have impact on us… are the same social forces that can be used to shape what we call “modern propaganda.”

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Why Understanding Cultural Impact is Important.

People with the privilege tend to be unaware of their status – and thus have the ability to act incredibly bigoted. A lack of cultural awareness is not a good thing. Ignorance, specifically on how culture impacts us, is universally correlated to bigoted behavior on any issue around equality.

The only antidote, my homies, to combating things like ingrained gender roles, is attempting to arm yourself through awareness. You got to know your sht, before you can escape these sorts of cultural forces. If you want to be a legit egalitarian, you actually have to put in work. You have to work on understanding the various cultural forces that is likely shaping your ideology. If you can’t do that… you just wasting everyone’s time.

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Bigotry and Friendship

Does bigotry make the person?

No, no it does not.

Why?

Well, because bigotry, more often than not, is the effect of cultural conditioning… so it is not “all their fault.” If a society grows up teaching everyone to act bigoted, I have to expect people to act bigoted. How accountable to their bigotry they should be, is based on how they handle this internalization. If they handle in such a way that makes them an “Old School Bigot”.. spitting out racial slurs.. then yeah.. fck that guy or girl…

However, if they reject bigotry, but on occasion just act like a bigot due to conditioning… then obviously there is more leeway there. It, really depends on the person. Like I keep saying, racism, today, is not so much about intent or KKK types, but as recognizing power structures and the function of behaviors that result from implicit bias. The intent of the individuals matter much less – the way they function in a bigoted society and how to stop that behavior is where it is at.

Is some bigoted stance a person may take, enough to make another person dismiss them as a whole?

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I Wrote This While Pissed (Part 3 of 3)

Aight, so this is the last part of the events that unfolded within this online life of mine. It is also part of the actual reason I started to blog in the first place.

Anyway, back to the story here, so this blogger with lots of pull within the community I was opining on – posted my comments (shown in part 1 and 2) on her blog in an effort to get people on board with my line of thought. When that sht hit, I was like.. fck, I did not know this was going to get this much play! I was just pissed, and wanted to say something, I did not really intend to change anyone’s mind on this issue. Anyway she posted it, and some prominent members within the community linked it via twitter, and it finally got to Clueless White Boy Two, and he read what I wrote, in part 1 and 2, where I accused him of acting racist along with White Boy One, and well… he ain’t take that sht too kindly.

He ended up calling it a “witch hunt” – which was standard white boy tactic one, make yourself into a martyr and act like being called racist is just as bad as people burning you at the stake. Then a feminist friend of his, told him that this response was wack – he got taken aback by this, and reconsidered his position. That lasted for about a second, and then he went on to say how nothing I wrote was of substance, and instead it was just a mud flinging post, where he accused me of making him look racist when, clearly, he was anything but. All of a sudden I see AM comment and tell him to back that sht up, and that he should at least attempt to post a response to my commentary about him.  Clueless White Boy Two then in denial of his action, kept saying how my thoughts lacked any substance and implied they should not be taken seriously – needless to say no one believed him. So because of some social forces at play, he decided to comment on what I wrote. What processed was this off hand defensive BS attitude, and I then…. understood this guy was too ignorant to get WTF I was saying. So I responded to him as follows.

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