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Member since: Sat Feb 3, 2007, 12:43 AM
Number of posts: 14,195

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Can someone please define "divisive."

I keep seeing claims that references or discussions about race are “divisive.” But what exactly does that mean?

Who do these references and discussions “divide” and where are the dividing lines?

Does it mean that making someone uncomfortable will make them walk away from the larger group, hence the “divide?”

Does it mean that, absent the mention or discussion, there would be no “division?”

Does it mean that, because someone was made uncomfortable by something a stranger wrote on an anonymous discussion board, they will change their view of or relationships with people of different races and/or no longer support equality and equal opportunity for all?

Please help me put here and explain exactly what “divisive” means.

(And trying to define it by saying THIS post is “divisive” because I’m asking for a definition of the term won’t suffice).


White DUers: Tell Your Stories

A few weeks ago, I posted an OP inviting DUers of color to share their stories of discrimination. The discussions, to say the least, were very interesting.

In the past few days, we've had some very contentious conversation regarding race, terminology, and attitudes, largely driven by disagreements about the term "Wypipo." I see that many white DUers are frustrated by what they see as a double standard and believe that their concerns and issues are being dismissed and not taken seriously.

So, I thought that, as I did with minority DUers, it would be helpful for white DUers to tell their stories, to offer examples of how they've encountered discrimination, profiling or other indignities as a result of being white and to describe how this felt and/or how it affected them.

I also invite DUers of color to share incidents that they have witnessed affecting their white friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

As with my previous "Tell Your Story" OP, this is not intended to start any kind of racial battle on this board, but to help more people understand the situations that white people face and, hopefully, find some common ground.

And, as I said previously, if you don't have a story to share that can help illuminate this discussion, please simply read and think about the posts without pushing back on them. Please don't step in to challenge or argue with anyone trying to tell their stories. This thread is not intended to start any argument or any kind of flame war. I am trying to help people LEARN.

Please let this be a positive learning experience for all of us.

The last time I did this, I led off with my own story. But not being white, that's not appropriate for me to do here, so I'll ask one of my white fellow DUerss to get this started with their own story.

An Observation About White People and Wypipo

There’s been quite the kerfuffle here the last couple of days involving discussions of the word “Wypipo” with some white DUers getting very upset with the notion of using any race-identifying term to describe the behaviors of any subset of white people.

This is not the first time I’ve seen reactions like this from some whites - not just to such terms as “Wypipo” but to ANY reference to their race. One sure way to get a reaction on DU is to post anything that includes the term “white people.” As sure as day follows night, several white folk will strenuously object and we’ll see responses that have become so common, they have their own hashtags, such as #notallwhitepeople.

Yet, by the same token white folk seem to have no trouble at all identifying other racial groups and other demographics by their identifying characteristics - African-Americans, women, LGBQT, Muslims, etc. - and they do so frequently and without any self-consciousness or shame (often the very same post in which they complain about being referred to as “white”).

I’ve long been fascinated by this dynamic, so I used to conduct an experiment with my law students on the first day of class. I’d casually ask all of the black students to raise their hands. Without hesitation, the black students all raised their hands. And, invariably, the white students would turn toward the black students, anticipating that they WOULD raise their hands.

Then I’d ask all of the white students to raise their hands. But, instead of raising their hands, most of them just sat there and stared at me like I’d lost my damned mind. When I pressed them - “C’mon - raise your hands!” - a couple of them would do it grudgingly, but the others still didn’t want to and got very agitated, asking why THEY were being singled out by race. “Why are you asking. What does are race have to do with anything?”

They also frequently turned toward their black classmates and either tacitly or sometimes outright asked them to say something about how wrong this was (“Aren’t you gong t say anything?” “This is so wrong. Why aren’t you saying anything?”).

This led to some very interesting discussions. For example, the black students asked their white classmates why they didn't object when I first singled them out - not only did they not object, but they fully expected the black students to identify themselves - yet the white students expected the black students to defend them when it was THEIR turn in the barrel.

When I asked the black students why they complied so quickly, they usually just shrugged and said it was no big deal. They often noted that they were so used to being seen and identified as black, they thought nothing of it. And since I hadn’t said anything derogatory or suggested that I was going to treat them any differently or worse just because they were black, they weren’t concerned.

On the other hand, the white students said it made them very uncomfortable. The most common response was along the lines of, “I don’t think of myself as a white person. I’m just a person.” One student said she was afraid that, because I was black, my noticing they were white and saying it out loud meant that I planned to discriminate against them in favor of the black students.

I used this to help demonstrate how minorities are so accustomed to being identified as subgroups, to be singled out as minorities, while white people saw themselves, not as a group, but as just people and really resented being identified by their race. It also showed how minorities tend not to immediately assume that racial identifications include an inherent racial bias or judgment - without more, they see it as simply a description (“That white lady over there said the store closes at 5”), while whites tend to assume any racial identification is per se discriminatory - at least when applied to them.

That helps to explain why some white acquaintances get very uncomfortable when I say, for example, “I’ll meet you in the cafe at 3. I’m black and will be wearing a beige coat.” They’re ok with the coat, but don’t want me to think they’ll notice that I’m black - even though that’s the most logical way to spot me in restaurant filled with mostly white people - because they think that means they’re “being racist.”

So, I think the upset about “Wypipo” stems largely from a real discomfort, not just with a subset of white folk being poked fun at for certain behaviors that invite ridicule, but from the larger and deeper unease that many white people have at being identified as “white” at all, i.e., something other than just “people.”

SNL was HUHLARIOUS - an instant classic - but it is really a sin and a shame that a comedy show

satirizes a president lying, talking to his fixer on a burn phone, his wife asking if she can testify against him and talking to the porn star he slept with and paid off to hush it up - and everybody gets the joke because none of it is a joke.

I see Wypipo ...

all up on DU!


There are still a few people who haven't learned not to play the dozens with Stormy



Would we be where are right now if Stormy Daniels hadn't come forward in March?

Surely, this would have come out eventually, but would it be coming out this quickly had Daniels and Avenatti not been pushing this hard the last two months?

Whose bright idea was it to let Giuliani talk?


I suspect that Rudy is freaked out by the new sheriff in town (Flood) and is scrambling to try to make himself relevant. His problem is that he is an idiot and just threw his client ALL the way under the bus ...

Why must Pelosi be jettisoned because she's a "lightning rod" who antagonizes & mobilizes the GOP

but when she says we should table impeachment talk for now because it will only antagonize and mobilize the GOP, she's a "sellout?"

Are we trying to diminish distractions, or not? Are we worried about pissing off Republicans, or aren't we? Are we trying to avoid lightning rods, or not?

Which is it?
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