In the back of my mind, I thought something like this might happen, especially in light of recent events with Loren Feldman and with the surprising amount of support many were showing him.  What was a shock, to me, was to see the organized fashion it occurred in. 

Just as Wayne Sutton and Corvida started their interview this afternoon, the chat area was bombarded with a flurry of racial slurs, bigotry, and malicious prejudice. I’ve been through this before in many past years of chat rooms, discussions boards, and such.  Unfortunately, each time, I think it just desensitizes you a little bit.  One positive: everyone else now has the opportunity to see that racism isn’t a myth; it isn’t just something that ended with slavery; and the neither the blogosphere nor the web are exceptions.

I applaud Wayne and Corvida for the level of class and professionalism they held during the interview.  They are great role models for other Black Tech Bloggers, including myself. 

Personally, I’m way too feisty to put up with that kind of stuff and it makes me tense.  I never want to be desensitized to it because; unfortunately, I think many of us have — Black and White, old and young.  So when folks hear stories about possible racist activity, what are the reactions? “Oh stop playing the race card”, “Aren’t you being a little sensitive?”, “That’s just how the world is *shrug*”.  I’ve had all these things said to me at some point in my life.

Louis Gray has a blog post describing his experience and reactions to the interview and I’m thankful he’s speaking up about it, and not shrugging it off.

Here’s a screenshot I took after the interview was over.  Yahoo Live, is this the kind of community you want representing you?

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  • beth g sanders

    shey I can’t say that I don’t encounter racism- I do. I don’t tolerate it in my home and I try to stop it when it is in my power to do so. It sickens me, particularly from those who claim to share my faith, then disparage others in this way.

    Living in Memphis as I have since 1980, its hard to believe anything could shock me regarding this issue-but that screenshot made me want to puke. I’m so sorry people still have to see and hear that crap and I guess I’m sorry too that I’m so insulated that it shocked me.

  • Cecily Walker

    The only people who have the luxury of being desensitized to this kind of behaviour are (1) Canadians (*grin*) and (2) people who are members of the dominant ethnic group. While I appreciate Louis Gray’s sentiments, his insistence that he only spoke up because Corvida and Wayne are friends of his got my back up. What I infer from that statement is that he had been willing/might still be willing to let other incidents fly by unnoticed, but because it happened to two people he respected he felt a sudden need to make his voice heard.

    It reinforces the belief that some people who do race work reinforce time and again that people of color view racism completely different than so-called “white” people. What I mean is, according to their wisdom, “white” people tend to view racism as individual acts of meanness, while people of color tend to take a larger, more systemic view of racism and bigotry. Were the jackholes who sh*t all over Wayne and Corvida’s live stream being individually mean? Of course. But it’s all to easy to pass it off as one act of foolish behaviour instead of something that is indicative of a much larger problem.

    I was going to blog about this myself, but you and Bwana have already spoken so eloquently on the subject, there’s just no need for me to do so.

  • Ryan, it’s not just the word, it’s the context – and from what I’ve seen over the past two days has disgusted me. I really didn’t know we’re so far away from where we should be as a society and it’s really disheartening.

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  • Thanks Cecily — you’re absolutely right — many are just willing to pass it off as being mean and treat them as isolated incidents, just little pockets of disturbance in an otherwise Utopian racism-free world. That’s unfortunate.

    We Canadians have a long way to go on the racism front — I know folks don’t want to hear about this kinda stuff because it upsets their false reality but it has to be brought into the foreground and when it is, we shouldn’t so easily discount it.

  • Oh my! I can’t people would say such awful things like that. As a christian woman things like this bother me so much. I’m not surprised because I know that we are all capable of doing and saying hurtful things, but I think when I’m confronted with it then it shocks me that it’s a reality of a world going to hell in a hand basket. I just get used to being around people who don’t talk this way (and hopefully not think this way) and it just makes me angry at the insensitive small minded people who have nothing better to do that hurt other people. May those under fire be lifted up like a phoenix out of the ash and become beautiful wonderful people and make a difference in the world.

  • Thanks for commenting Beth.

  • I’m not really shocked at how poor the response of our tech blogging luminaries.

    http://mashable.com/2008/07/08/technigga/

    There’s this strange aspect of people who spout off like this and the people who spout off in their defense. They make blanket generalizations, think of it as simply that, they make blanket generalizations, and then they feign this surprise when countless people take them to task.

    Then, for fear that they might have *listen* instead of whatever it is that pundits and mouthpieces do, they start squealing like a stuck pig that they are being censored.

    Yes, it make me angry.

    And it’s subtle things like that Mashable article above that make me angry. If you don’t like it don’t watch it.

    You mean, I can’t speak out against it? I can’t ask that person to leave my house? I can’t tell that person that I don’t want to do business with them? I can’t tell Verizon (sickening firm to begin with) that I don’t want to have those sentiments beamed into my phone?

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you are unaccountable for what you say. Freedom of speech does not mean zero accountability. A vast swath of society responding to racist prattle with open and vocal disgust is also freedom of speech.

  • You’re spot on Alan. Thanks for your comment.

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  • shey, i don’t know you, and please excuse me for going off topic … i am someone who was flabbergasted at the furor around a blog video last week that turned into a discussion of race, with accusations from many directions.

    your voice was reasonably prominent in followup discussion; based on that i wish to know your opinion of the following, found on http://www.huffingtonpost.com …specifically, is this racist?

    ““Chocolate News” is ostensibly a newsmagazine — the “Dateline” to Jon Stewart’s “Nightly News.” As an example of what viewers can expect, Mr. Grier pointed to an upcoming skit about the person who does John McCain’s laundry. The skit also features Mr. McCain’s “Reverend Wright-type person,” referring to Mr. Obama’s controversial pastor.

    Mr. Grier joked: “We found John McCain’s launderer, his dry cleaner, and his recordings… where the guy goes, you know, ‘Black and white cannot be together. If they mix, white will be ruined. This cannot be allowed to happen.’ ” In the skit, the comments are “used by the ‘Chocolate News’ to bring him down,” Mr. Grier added.

    is this show going to something any different than what mr. feldman did? it is by black mainstream comedians apparently

    does it seem “off” to you?

    for me, “insensitve to race” means having gone beyond race …. race has no meaning except for the phrase “the human race” and anybody who thinks otherwise is simply being limited, inexperienced, and quite possibly ignorant

    i was sad to see BOTH sides of the discussion that existed last week, because unity is a higher order of mental functioning, and people addicted to duality seem to be missing something crucial to their own peace of mind

    thanks for your time, and your opinon

    gregory lent

  • hi cecily … i have lived far too long in other parts of the world than just north america, so have a hard time having a limited view of what we called racism, or discrimination … it is everywhere, it is a human thing, sometimes it is within the same “color group” (god, i hate that phrase, there is so clearly only one race on this planet, once you have moved around a bit) and for me cannot be separated from questions of ego

    but i also see ego at the basis of religious fundamentalism of any variety, wherever you find it in the world

    in america the phrase “the dominant group” seems to be used by feminists about masculinists also, but in the racial point of view for those caught up into racial discrimanation, (seeing different races) the dominant culture in most countries is not white, it is brown … (and i hate even making those surface distinctions …. there is only one race, and until the world sees that there will always be trouble) … and in these (please excuse) brown worlds there is every kind of distinction made, on a microtonal basis, about who and who does not deserve power, or who one can marry, etc.

    In short, this IS a human problem, and once you see that you can no longer say it is about color… it is about ego, it is about identifying one’s self as a part, rather than as the whole, it is about addiction to a limited view of oneself, the world, and reality …

    the only way out is to erase the concept of differences, but it amazes me that when somebody does that, they are also castigated by those who are addicted to seeing difference … you dont have the “luxury of being desensitized” because you are a member of the particular local dominant group, you have it because you have become conscious of a higher order of human functioning, one that is based on the unity of all existence.

    how to get there is an interseting discussion, but confrontation may not be one of the successful techniques that accomplishes it

    thanks for your time … probably the short version for everybody, change your mind, change your life

  • Thanks for stopping by Gregory.

    I haven’t seen the video; but I don’t want to get into the antics of is this or that racist or not. I think there’s a fine line between folks making comedy out of their life experiences and those that perpetuate negative stereotypes.

  • sbspalding

    Alright, dropping in because I might have an opinion ten degrees off center from what has already be said and I’m leaving it here because I think that the conversation coming from you has been extraordinary so far Shey.

    I like what Alan said because it raises the interesting question of freedom of speech, which everyone has been exercising in spades. I find it laughable when people say, “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” The point of freedom is that if you don’t like it you can do whatever you darn well please to reconcile that with yourself as long as it is within your rights.

    Accountability is the only reasonable lesson from all of this. I just can’t bring myself to heap the weight of all the world’s inequities on the shoulders of Loren. He’s a BSer whose BS caught up with him. That being said, there are people out there orders of magnitude worse and Louis, Wayne and Corvida did a lovely job of unearthing a few recently.

    What do I mean when I say accountability? I mean that if you put your name on any piece of content, you accept the consequences of that content (good, bad or otherwise). The less popular your opinion, the more problems you might see.

    There it is.

    Loren opened a powder keg that exploded in his face. Now it’s on him to deal with it. Is it the end of the world? I’ll raise you two ethnic cleanings that it isn’t. All of you wonderful people are responding from your hearts, and maybe learning some new things about the medium that you’ve been working in. You’re finding a common voice, and realizing that more than a few people support the cause of equity. This is a fantastic thing, and I encourage everyone to keep discussions like this going but expand them beyond Feldman into broader matters.

    I only wish we lived in a world where everyone rose up against and acted on all the horrible, biting inequities in the world. Unfortunately, we don’t but with tools like we have now to express ourselves, maybe we can.

    If I am completely off base here, c’est la vie. Thanks for the time.

  • I don’t think you’re completely off base at all Steve, thanks for your thoughts.

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