Ever since our color-blind soon-to-be-former attorney general, Eric Holder, made his stinging introductory remarks America has been forced to acknowledge that it is a Nation of Cowards for failing to honestly address the topic of race. This being a rebuke that a platoon of plucky bloggers has attempted to rectify by speaking forthrightly on the subject. Unfortunately though candor and hate were subsequently discovered to be indistinguishable and thus the entire initiative had to be scuttled.
However, succeeding years have seen great advancements in social science. So much so that race may now be discussed through a proprietary filtering process that leaves tender African emotions free of faintest injury. Thus shielded from potential pique, and lubricated by copious white lick spittle, blacks are tentatively emerging to share their positions on this polarizing topic. I recently came upon a Guardian article that served as an impressive proof-of-concept for what this technology is capable of achieving. Therein two women, one black one white, converse soberly and politely as equals in respect of one another’s people and their interests. It was really quite gratifying. Because a simple cut/paste would deny readers the creative content they expect, we will paraphrase portions of the conversation. Refer to the original if you believe our interpretive license has been exceeded.
But first an introduction of our advocates. In defense of white interests stands Jess Zimmerman. Ms. Zimmerman describes herself as follows:
I’m Jess, and I put words in order for money, and also sometimes for free. I’ve been described as “a vulnerability-avoidance machine powered mainly by shame,” as a “post-punk Dorothy Parker,” and recently as a “closet supernerd” and “the best winglady ever”; only one of those descriptions was written by me, and I’ll let you guess which one. (IT WAS THE FIRST ONE.) Feminist rage, comic books, sketch comedy, and dogs all pour coolant on my otherwise overclocked brain. I have the alchemical symbol for “vitriol” tattooed on my right wrist, and if you laughed at that, we’d probably like each other. I am on Twitter A LOT.
Another roost offers further detail:
Jess Zimmerman is the editor in charge of cute animals, science weirdness, penis jokes, and Hitchhiker’s Guide references for Grist.org. Before that she did actual journalism for FactCheck.org, and somewhere in there she wrote alternately embarrassing, feminist, and embarrassing/feminist essays for xoJane. She lives on the internet and also in Brooklyn.
Finally, her self Twitter description is:
Misandrist spider queen
These provided solely for the edification of readers who may have been concerned with the quality of our representation in the forthcoming debate. Put those fears to rest. Here she is.
The opposing solicitor comes in the person of Rebecca Carroll. Her bio states:
Rebecca Carroll is a writer, editor and author of several nonfiction books, including Saving The Race and Sugar In The Raw. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Ebony, GOOD, The Daily Beast and Jezebel, among other publications.
You can immediately see the vast gulf in philosophy embraced by these two ladies. They really couldn’t be more apart. Continuing from one of Ms. Carroll’s articles:
I give myself permission to care about race, how it is discussed, interpreted, and otherwise observed, for as many hours in the day, in my life, as feels productive. It is not my job to be conciliatory with others about the issue, and I reserve the right to maintain that race is the central narrative theme of American history and culture.
Well Rebecca, that permission extends to this site as well. So welcome. Here is our black advocate:
Hostilities commence with Ms. Zimmerman’s opening gambit: Obsequious abasement.
JZ: Hi Rebecca. Thank you for talking to me and I apologize for any unintended offense I might give in the event my sycophancy proves insufficient. Following Ferguson, I just restated what blacks were screaming. I hope that doesn’t make me racist? I’m just trying to grovel in a manner you find least despicable.
RC: It’s quaint to have that luxury, you stupid white bitch. I face a hail of KKK gunfire every day upon leaving my house, and you’re “trying?” Try harder.
JZ: What can I do better? Do you want me in silent supplication or as a gibbering toady? How can I even ask without seeming solipsistic?
RC: Challenge other whites. Attack those who demur.
JZ: But that means I’ll have to converse with whites who don’t obey.
RC (quote, not paraphrase): Our legacy as black folks is of pain and strife; your legacy as white folks is of cultural decimation, violence and human ownership. Bummer. Who wants to look at that? And when you do, if you can, that’s gotta feel bad.
JZ (quote, not paraphrase): I do feel bad about our ugly legacy, and I accept that it’s right for me to feel bad…I really do want to amplify black voices and not speak over people…So I’m trying to figure out how to give the problem of inequality my work, my support, whatever muscle I can give it, without overflowing it with my dumb opinions.
I must be honest: at this point our advocate’s strategy seems counterintuitive. Almost as if she isn’t really representing our perspective at all. Perhaps it is some grand rhetorical diversion concealing a flanking maneuver. We’ll see. Inchon is surely on the way.
RC (quote): What white people should be really be doing is thinking really hard about ways to make change in an immediate way. My son was at our neighborhood public school at the peak of our neighborhood gentrification. I would talk to the parents on the playground and ask, “Are you not concerned about how white this school is becoming?” They looked at me like I was a zealot. I took my son out of that school and found another one that is properly diverse – not 25 middle-class white kids and three black kids from the projects; kids from here and abroad, black and brown, different religions, and so on. White parents should feel this urgency to do the same and have the collective power to demand it.
Don’t accept your displacement, bigots. Demand it! The opposition has certainly opened herself now to several devastating critiques. I’m almost giddy with anticipation to watch how our champion exploits them.
JZ (quote): Yes!…I was thinking mostly about talking to other white people specifically about, like, their dumb terrible ideas about police violence. Like, what do you do when your cousin hijacks a Thanksgiving conversation to talk about how the Ferguson grand jury was right, NOT THAT THIS HAPPENED TO ME AND NOT THAT I HANDLED IT REALLY POORLY (I ran away). But yeah, that’s only relevant to a few conversations. It’s not really making change.
But I’m realizing that I really suck at thinking of real-world solutions beyond “try to convince people” and “protest”.
RC: Get in their satanic white faces. Now.
JZ (quote): My goal isn’t to get acknowledged for being a white person who knows that white people suck; my goal is to figure out how I can try to make things better without accidentally making things worse.
She seeks praise for “acknowledging” that her own people “suck?” Perhaps I’ve been completely misled on the premise of this exchange.
RC (quote): I have long maintained that white privilege is an immaculate high – it’s free, you feel (I imagine) magnanimous and amazing all the time, there are no side effects and there is no comedown. Unless you choose to come down. And then you’re gonna go through it – withdrawal, anxiety, agitation, all of it. And then you have to figure out how to live your life without it. We’ve been doing it for the past 400 years, so.
JZ: I had no idea what a hateful bigot I have been.
RC: Four points, you stupid white whore: 1) Do not take photos of yourself–blacks don’t care, 2) Demand to be arrested for shoplifting, 3) when you talk to blacks, BOW YOUR HEAD, 4) Read Sha-na-na Coats
JZ: Your will, my hands.
From this example we see how two oppositional factions can engage in dialogue born of reciprocal respect. That is how a nation of cowards finds its courage.
That is a discussion of race.