Sunday, May 1, 2011

"The what they DID conversation"

Jay Smooth made this video almost three years ago. I've forgotten exactly what prompted it, but I'm guessing it was in response to the discussion about racism that came up during the 2008 Democratic primary (you remember...when Obama gave this amazing speech on the topic.)

Since watching it back then, I've posted it in countless comments on various blogs. But it struck me this morning that I've never posted it here.

Thanks to the birthers, once again the conversation about racism has been ignited. There are many reasons why they tend to go badly. I think Jay has some important thoughts about one of them. I'm not saying that if you follow his advice, the discussion will go smoothly (ah...a pun!). But I've found that it gave me some clarity that helped me stay focused and not lose my mind in the process.


  1. My goodness, I had forgotten about Ill doctrine! I used to go there 'regularly', but gave up because far too often he wouldn't post anything new for ages. In fact, the last time I went there was when he did the oh-so truthful spiel about the 'I'm you' not-a-witch GOP candidate, and then finding nothing new after several later visits, I gave up. He was so good at what he did! Thanks for this 'What they did' reminder.

  2. VC're letting your ultimate coolness show by revealing that you followed Jay. I'm impressed.


  3. Very interesting and useful.

    I had two experiences in the last few years of someone I know quite well saying something that shocked me. Both times my immediate response was "You can't say that!" and then explain why because both people seemed clueless, but not bigoted.

    First time was an acquaintance who used the expression "jew down," meaning he'd got a bargain. He seemed to have no idea of its meaning and actually thanked me for educating him. I wonder about that, though, because I find it hard to believe that as an American in his 50's he could be that unaware. (But there are other issues with him, as in contradictory stories about his past hmmm.)

    Second time, it was a very good friend who I know without a doubt is not a racist (and who is not Jewish) who used the word "schwartzes." The other people present, a Jewish couple with an adopted daughter from Kenya, stood there in shocked silence and I burst out with my "You can't say that!" Turned out he really didn't know it was derogatory and was very embarrassed.

    I don't know if my kneejerk outburst is the correct way to handle these things but it worked well those two times.

  4. Actually, he was very apologetic, and a little embarrassed. I don't like to embarrass people over a misunderstanding. (Not that I thought about what I said before I said it. It just popped out.)


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