1. Tony Breeden says:

    My thoughts are that you need to research further, particularly the term “structural violence” in regards to a disparity of power, opportunities and legal consequences in the US.

    Stop whitewashing the problem away. You have the luxury of not experiencing the structural violence I’m referring to. And trust me, I did not realize the extent or severity of the problem until I adopted a son who isn’t white.

    • notleia says:

      I’ve been waiting for a response to this one, since it’s at least as pointed/mean as the ones I have made. Maybe Travis will imply that he’s fallen off the turnip cart directly onto the bandwagon, like he does with me. Maybe Brennan will come around and question his grasp on reality. Will Autumn feel it necessary to play referee and reasonable third party between them?

      But it’s been a couple-few days of RADIO SILENCE. Now how can that POSSIBLY BE? Ordinarily by this time there’s at least a dozen back-and-forth posts on these posts. I WONDER WHY IT BE LIKE THIS.

      • For my part, I’ve been even busier than normal. I’ve had in my mind a lot of things I could say to every person in this conversation, and sometimes I even think I WILL say something, but by the time I sit in front of the computer I don’t feel like it anymore. Like…stuff sounds good in my head, but when I go to type it just doesn’t come out right. I COULD just type something and keep nitpicking it until it comes out right, but I don’t have the time or energy to spend on making the perfect post right now.

        I also question whether I even feel like putting myself out there during such a sensitive time. I care about people, but when they’re upset to the degree a lot of people are right now, they’re prone to misunderstanding and lashing out whether or not it makes sense or is fair. I’ve had way too much of that in my life already, even in terms of regular interpersonal issues. I don’t know how much I feel like opening myself up to that when it comes to a topic of this magnitude. Normally it wouldn’t bother me so much, but the TIMING of the issue makes it hard. It’s probably fine on this site since I try to be thoughtful with my posts, but I always struggle when I know I could come across wrong or cause others to think less of me.

        I’m NOT saying that so people can pretend to think highly of me to make me feel better. And I’m NOT actually willing to bend all of my beliefs, identity, etc around everyone else’s opinion(though I still listen and take everyone’s opinion into consideration). I’ve actually greatly reduced how much I care about what others think of me. But there are still things I do and don’t want to happen and I have to take that into consideration when I talk.

        There are some things I’d like to get off my chest, so maybe later on in this post series I’ll scrape some of my thoughts together for a general commentary on the issue. But we’ll see whether or not I feel like it or get around to it. Other than that…I may or may not poke my head in to make a few observations or whatever.

      • Brennan McPherson says:

        Because it’s all pretty reasonable. You keep eisegeting my thoughts = your caricature of annoying conservatives.
        I see what Travis is saying, yet also thought it interesting that the article seems to gloss over white supremacy and equate it with super-duper racism. It’s stupid to call all racism white supremacy when it’s a black person hating white people and arguing for black supremacy (and yes, if you don’t want me questioning your grasp of reality, don’t try to say the distinction doesn’t matter like you did last week), but it does all relate back to white supremacy as the genesis to pretty much everything. Especially because the inequity in black communities is basically due to white supremacy. Before racist laws, black families were more knitted together than Caucasian. Now it’s flip-flopped. I’ve heard before what Leanna said below, and find it disturbing. Same thing with access to schooling, healthcare, food, etc.

        • notleia says:

          “It’s stupid to call all racism white supremacy when it’s a black person hating white people and arguing for black supremacy”

          You question my grip on reality, but then you go and make really weird statements like this when there are examples that actually exist in the real world in a meaningful capacity, like within the caste system of India or with the Han Chinese vs other ethnicities within the Chinese political playing field.

          Black supremacy is a couple centuries away from even the possibility of existing. Most people who scare-monger about “Black supremacy” are privilege distressed at best and dogwhistle racists at worst, and no one should pay attention to them.

          TL;DR it’s not that I disagree with your larger point, you just made it in the weirdest possible way.

      • Travis Tyree Perry says:

        I’ve been working a lot. Too much to post this week. That’s the cause of the radio silence.

    • Travis Tyree Perry says:

      Tony, “violence” is a word with actual meaning. Its meaning is not the same as “inequality.” What you are calling structural violence is mostly not violence-even when it IS violent, it’s clearer and more to the point to identify the actual problem than to make generalities so sweeping they lack meaning. Such as talking about bias in policing leading to actual violence at times rather than “structural violence” which alienates people because it’s horse manure in terms of clarity and accuracy.

      Look, I think there are problems to fix and I want to help, but there’s no long-term good to be obtained from mislabeling issues.

      And that isn’t “whitewashing.” It’s truth telling!

  2. notleia says:

    Imma gripe more about your definitions again. This time about your definition of white supremacy. You seem to take white supremacy as some kind of super-duper version of run-of-the-mill racism, but I would argue that pretty much all racism in the US relates back to white supremacy. It’s kinda funny (read: suspicious) that you haven’t tried to strip “white supremacy” of it’s historical/cultural baggage and argue about simple, logical definitions when you’ve spent most of your time doing that for just “racism.” White supremacy doesn’t have to be violent, after all.

    • Travis Tyree Perry says:

      “White supremacy” is an abundantly clear term. It requires a belief in race, that is, is a subset of racism, and requires a person to be actively striving to advance the interests of white people to the detriment of other races.

      The term relates to racial theorists I’ve discussed from the late 1800s and early 1900s. White supremacy had effects in Jim Crow laws, US conquests in the Spanish-American War, and a host of other things. Its highest expression was in the Nazi party, who set out to conquer the world on behalf of white people–their type of white.

      Modern skinheads, KKK, and Aryan Nations types have aptly been called “White Supremacists” ever since WW2-though there are non-violent people who use other means to deliberately advance what they see as white interests, who also deserve to be called “White Supremacists.”

      Only in academia was “white supremacy” used to describe general inequality until about 10 years ago or so.

      So, your definition of white supremacy, which is roughly: “Structural inequality that favors white people” is new. Is this a good change in definition?

      If we do use “White Supremacy” in that way, what shall we call Aryan Nations and the KKK? Ultra white supremacists?

      It’s not me changing definitions here…and the questions I ask about changing definitions are legitimate.

  3. Professor says:

    I appreciate the article and the points you make here. I’m sure you’ll get some backlash (since this is a political topic today and wading into that arena is impossible without backlash); however, your core points ring true. Namely:

    1. Using specific terms to evoke a strong reaction is problematic and, I would argue, borderline manipulative if not downright detrimental to a meaningful discussion of the topic at hand.
    2. White Supremacy does not need to be violent…nor are all people who benefit from past or present “White Supremacy” bad.
    3. Over generalizing the issue and painting people with a broad brush trivializes the issue and its nuances. It also vilifies individuals who are not the enemy and would otherwise be allies.

    These are important points, not just for this topic but all areas of dissention.

    • Travis Perry says:

      I would agree people who benefit from White Supremacy are not necessarily bad…but being a beneficiary of past White Supremacy and being a White Supremacist are not the same thing. Being a White Supremacist I would say is a bad thing–even if non-violent. White Supremacy requires a person to believe in a system of races and that white people belong at the top of the system.

      If you don’t believe that, you may be deficient in many ways–complict perhaps even. But you are not a white supremacist.

  4. Leanna says:

    I don’t think it makes sense to take issue with them not mentioning public transit when there is a whole massive discussion on housing (redlining, white flight, etc) and how that impacts generational poverty and health outcomes. Even just discussing it in part would have taken over the discussion so I can understand why they would leave it out.
    There are also very deep rooted unconscious and dangerous biases in healthcare, such that black women are at a much higher risk of dying in childbirth even when they have no underlying health issues, a good job and excellent family support (this is the area I am most aware of because I actively keep on top of maternity issues)

    It isn’t enough to believe that all people are created equal when so many areas of society have systemic issues.

    This isn’t disagreeing with your issues around semantics. I don’t care what term people use so long as they recognize that they need to be active in this. 🙂

    • Travis Perry says:

      One of the important reasons to bring up the public transportation example is because the development of public transportation as the main means to help people without means to transport themselves in cities does in fact disproportionately affect inner-city black people and other minorities in the same zone more than anyone else. But it was not done out of bias. It was in fact done from several flavors of high-minded idealism.

      The “white flight” issue involves some actual bias but also involves issues not related to bias. Related to the paragraph I wrote above, part of the reason white people left is they more frequently had cars or could obtain cars, allowing them to move to the suburbs…even while the large cities felt it was important to invest in public transportation, which mostly did not serve suburbs well (well, in NYC it does, but outside of NYC and a few other exceptions, people get to and from and across suburbs by car). So the transportation plans of cities tended to reduce movement to and around the suburbs of anyone who didn’t own a car–often, black people.

      I suspect the people talking about “systemic racism” or “systemic white supremacy” don’t want to bring up examples where policies of left-leaning folks contributed to current inequalities. Because probably they see that as mudding the waters–it’s more compelling to tell a simple story about how racism has had powerful long-term effects. However, that story isn’t entirely true. The truth is more complex–which doesn’t mean a just society shouldn’t work to repair the results of past and present bias…but much of the difference in results does not stem from bias directly.

      For example, your example of black women having a much higher chance of dying in childbirth I would say strongly connects to the places they go to get medical treatment and to give birth. This relates most strongly to where they live, which has a connection to past racism in part, but mostly isn’t related to bias. (Note it would be more telling of bias if data shows white women in hospitals who treat mostly black women get better treatment or black women in hospitals who mostly treat white women get worse treatment. But I don’t think the data shows that–I think it shows differences by hospitals and other treatment centers if you also correct for income.)

      So while part of what I am saying really /is/ semantic–in particular, if we call everything “white supremacy” what shall we call the activities of white supremacists?–not all is. The semantic issue is semi-important, because I think what we call things matters. But I accept terms can be used in different ways under different circumstances in general.

      More important to these posts of mine is the idea of identifying the real source of problems so we can actually fix them. If we really are going to wisely build a better society, I’d say we cannot assume willy-nilly that all inequality along racial lines stems from bias. Not all does. Which doesn’t mean structural inequality should not be fixed…

What do you think?