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amergina
11-21-2014, 01:47 AM
Author Jacqueline Woodson won the young people’s literature prize at the National Book Awards on Wednesday night for her novel “Brown Girl Dreaming.” The day after the ceremony, the story making waves? An incredibly ill-advised joke by awards host Daniel Handler, who marveled that Woodson, who is black, is allergic to watermelon. (From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/11/20/daniel-handler-apologizes-for-watermelon-joke-about-jacqueline-woodson-at-national-book-awards/)

The Salon article is good: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/20/this_is_why_we_are_tired_racist_remarks_mar_nation al_book_award_ceremony/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Especially for this bit:


Blogger David Perry eloquently summed up his thoughts on the incident: “For a powerful white author to make a watermelon joke when handing out an award to a black author, the message is –[sic] no matter what you write, no matter what you do, no matter what you accomplish, you will always be a BLACK author, not just an author.”I'm still wrapping my mind around what possibly led Daniel Handler to think this was even remotely funny.

Maryn
11-21-2014, 01:55 AM
There are no words which can properly describe my reaction. What the fuck was the man thinking, that this seemed like a good idea?

Maryn, aghast

Calla Lily
11-21-2014, 02:11 AM
Fucking moronic asshole.

Period.

His apology was one half-step above useless. Are we supposed to believe the spotlight made him nervous? Um, no.

Fucking moronic asshole.

Kallithrix
11-21-2014, 02:13 AM
I still don't really get it. There must be some cultural context I'm missing here, about black people and watermelons. I imagine it's something like a Frenchman saying 'oh how funny, an Englishman allergic to roast beef'. Except when you say it about a PoC...

You just don't want to ram a stick in that hornet's nest, especially not when it's to prove 'I'm an ok guy, coz black people find my racist jokes funny...'

*facepalm*

virtue_summer
11-21-2014, 02:13 AM
Here's what gets me. Apparently he added this, taken from the Salon article:

And I said you have to put that in a book. And she said, you put that in a book. And I said I am only writing a book about a black girl who is allergic to watermelon if I get a blurb from you, Cornell West, Toni Morrison, and Barack Obama saying,”This guy’s okay. This guy’s fine.”So he knew it wasn't cool. I just -- That doesn't make any sense to me. If you know what you're saying isn't cool, and you also know it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, then why say it? Geez.

Anna_Hedley
11-21-2014, 02:13 AM
What the hell? Just... What the hell?

Drachen Jager
11-21-2014, 02:35 AM
Yeah, I saw the Salon article yesterday.

WTF man. He already tried the joke in private and it didn't go over well, so hey, let's not take the black lady's word that it's offensive to her and (he should have been able to guess) black people in general. He's a white dude, so of course he knows funny, right?

Reminds me of the Negraph Key and Peele sketch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIRwGCJWPo4

Ari Meermans
11-21-2014, 02:39 AM
There are times you must look at the whole package. You look at or hear the comment; you look at the person making it. Daniel Handler is not clueless, he is not moronic, and he is not unaware. The comment was mean-spirited and he is a racist asshole.

Marian Perera
11-21-2014, 02:50 AM
And I said you have to put that in a book.

You haven't heard of Save the Pearls?

LindaJeanne
11-21-2014, 02:51 AM
This is very disappointing, to say the least.


I still don't really get it. There must be some cultural context I'm missing here, about black people and watermelons.
It was a common element of horribly racist caricatures, back when they were still socially acceptable. So, to intentionally make the association, as he did, is to intentionally invoke the other aspects of those incredibly offensive caricatures, as well.

Locke
11-21-2014, 02:54 AM
I still don't really get it. There must be some cultural context I'm missing here, about black people and watermelons. I imagine it's something like a Frenchman saying 'oh how funny, an Englishman allergic to roast beef'. Except when you say it about a PoC...

You just don't want to ram a stick in that hornet's nest, especially not when it's to prove 'I'm an ok guy, coz black people find my racist jokes funny...'

*facepalm*
I live in a part of the country where you couldn't swing a sack of potatoes without hitting somebody who's at least somewhat racist, and I don't get it either. But, more to the point, he obviously understood that it was and decided to make the joke anyways. I don't think that makes him a "racist ass" (I don't really view things as so polarized as that), but it was crass.

Little Ming
11-21-2014, 02:55 AM
I still don't really get it. There must be some cultural context I'm missing here, about black people and watermelons. I imagine it's something like a Frenchman saying 'oh how funny, an Englishman allergic to roast beef'. Except when you say it about a PoC...


Here you go:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon_stereotype

Locke
11-21-2014, 02:57 AM
Here you go:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon_stereotype
Thanks for the link.

Ken
11-21-2014, 03:06 AM
Blogger David Perry eloquently summed up his thoughts on the incident: “For a powerful white author to make a watermelon joke when handing out an award to a black author, the message is –[sic] no matter what you write, no matter what you do, no matter what you accomplish, you will always be a BLACK author, not just an author.”

This seems like a wrong reply to me, if I understand it correctly. Based one comment the blogger is implying that racism is a prevalent attitude in society in general. Maybe it is, but such a conclusion certainly can't be drawn from one incident. Condemn the host; not the entire population at large.

Kallithrix
11-21-2014, 03:07 AM
Here you go:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon_stereotype

Ah, ok. I didn't know there was all that racist stereotyping behind it. It makes a lot more sense to me now, and makes my analogy pretty inadequate. I just thought it was along the lines of saying that Indians love curry, or Jamaicans love rice and peas. But those stereotypes, while they can be used in an offensive way, don't carry the same connotation at all.

Yeah, even more astounded now.

amergina
11-21-2014, 03:08 AM
For those that don't understand the history behind it, here's a bit of info about the watermelon stereotype:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon_stereotype

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/02/heres-why-your-fried-chicken-and-watermelon-lunch-racist/357814/

ETA: Little Ming (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=50321) beat me to it! But the second link provides some more recent examples of using watermelon as an attack on race (namely on President Obama).

Kayley
11-21-2014, 03:29 AM
I'm arguing with my friend about this, who claims it isn't that big of a deal because "everyone's racist" and Daniel Handler meant no harm. She's under the impression Jacqueline knew ahead of time about Daniel Handler's comments and was okay with them. Daniel mentions in his quote that he told Jacqueline ahead of time he would bring it up at the ceremony, supporting my friend's point. Are there any new quotes about how Jacqueline feels about the incident?

I told her that even if Jacqueline was in on it, it's still wrong to make a racist joke at such a public event, but she said it shouldn't be a big deal if it was between friends.

My friend's a super cool person so I'm baffled at this interpretation. I understand her reluctance to accept Daniel Handler as racist because she's a big fan of his, but I think it's clear the joke itself was racist and inappropriate no matter who was telling it.

Roxxsmom
11-21-2014, 04:07 AM
Hmm, why does this remind me a bit of the situation where a certain celebrated SF writer groped another celebrated SF writer who was hosting a highly prestigious awards ceremony (as I recall, there was a certain amount of argument at the time about whether or not it was sexist or simply a joke gone flat, and about whether she'd known about the "joke" beforehand, and about whether the recipient of the grope was really offended or not)?

Goes to show (as if we need a reminder) that being a celebrated writer doesn't endow a person with enlightenment or sensitivity, let alone social graces.

Ugh, just ugh.

I read amergina's link and saw this:


A private girls' school in Northern California wanted to incorporate Black History Month into lunch time, so it decided to serve fried chicken, watermelon, and cornbread.This shows how a huge number of Americans don't get it either.

graygrammar
11-21-2014, 05:21 AM
Blogger David Perry eloquently summed up his thoughts on the incident: “For a powerful white author to make a watermelon joke when handing out an award to a black author, the message is –[sic] no matter what you write, no matter what you do, no matter what you accomplish, you will always be a BLACK author, not just an author.”

This seems like a wrong reply to me, if I understand it correctly. Based one comment the blogger is implying that racism is a prevalent attitude in society in general. Maybe it is, but such a conclusion certainly can't be drawn from one incident. Condemn the host; not the entire population at large.

The reply is meant to point out that a society that provides a racist man with that much power, provides a racist man with that much voice (as a best-selling author of children's literature--children's literature), and makes that racist man the host of a literary awards ceremony is an inherently racist society. The blogger is saying that this incident is symptomatic, just as a malignant tumor is symptomatic of cancer.

I loved the Lemony Snicket books as a kid, but I recently spotted a transmisogynistic joke in his Unauthorized Autobiography, so I'm really not surprised that he's proving himself to be a jerk.

jeffo20
11-21-2014, 06:46 AM
I told her that even if Jacqueline was in on it, it's still wrong to make a racist joke at such a public event, but she said it shouldn't be a big deal if it was between friends.

The moment he uttered that 'joke' in front of an audience, it ceased to be 'between friends.'

Shadow_Ferret
11-21-2014, 07:02 AM
I'm arguing with my friend about this, who claims it isn't that big of a deal because "everyone's racist" and Daniel Handler meant no harm.
No, not everyone is racist.

And this is 2014. You'd have to have lived in a cave for the last 50+ years to think telling a watermelon joke would be greeted by anything but a horrible, uncomfortable silence.

Kayley
11-21-2014, 08:06 AM
The moment he uttered that 'joke' in front of an audience, it ceased to be 'between friends.'


No, not everyone is racist.

And this is 2014. You'd have to have lived in a cave for the last 50+ years to think telling a watermelon joke would be greeted by anything but a horrible, uncomfortable silence.


I agree with both of you, but I was hoping to have something from Jacqueline to show her. It's probably best for me not to speak about it with her anymore, though, because it's a point of contention between us. I don't think talking to her about it anymore will help anything.

To clarify my point, I think what Daniel Handler said was wrong and was racist under any circumstance.

Alessandra Kelley
11-21-2014, 08:07 AM
Holy cats, that's offensive. I don't even.

absitinvidia
11-21-2014, 08:21 AM
I've also heard that he referred to the two black poetry nominees as "probable cause." If that's true*, the watermelon comment isn't a standalone or a joke "between friends" but part of a pattern.

*I've seen it in a number of reports but they all seem to cite the same source.

franky_s
11-21-2014, 08:39 AM
I've also heard that he referred to the two black poetry nominees as "probable cause." If that's true*, the watermelon comment isn't a standalone or a joke "between friends" but part of a pattern.

*I've seen it in a number of reports but they all seem to cite the same source.

I had to read the links to understand the watermelon thing. And now you're going to have to explain this one to me as well. I don't know what 'probable cause' means or why it's racist.

J.S.F.
11-21-2014, 08:59 AM
Well, there's dumb and then there's Handler.

It really doesn't matter if he and the author had somehow worked this out between them before the show. It doesn't matter if he didn't 'mean' it. The point is, he said it and perhaps didn't (or did) realize how utterly friggin' dumb and racist the remark was.

If Woodson was cool with it, then fine. That's her right to BE cool with dumbass jokes like this, but quite frankly, not only was inappropriate under any circumstances, it just reinforced the stereotype of white writers ragging on black people because of their color. Sorry, the ol' fried chicken and watermelong jokes went out of vogue yonks back...what in the name of decency was this moron thinking?

RedWombat
11-21-2014, 09:06 AM
The moment he uttered that 'joke' in front of an audience, it ceased to be 'between friends.'

Precisely. Unless someone wishes to claim that Mr. Handler is friends with every single black author who might be influenced by the National Book Award, the between-friends thing is a red herring.

The point of awards isn't just to make the recipient feel good, it's to say "This, here, is what we value, this is what we're holding up as the best, this is what you can aspire to achieve." Otherwise we wouldn't bother with public award ceremonies, we'd just stuff the trophies in the mail.

The award winner might have laughed uproariously at the joke, I don't know, but she is not the sole audience member.

(Tangential rant--god, I hate "edgy" award MC's. Go be edgy in your own work--award shows aren't about you. Trying to prove how daring you are and how close you can cut the line on a night that belongs to other people is pure selfishness. It ought to be about the people getting the awards, not scoring points for yourself. Save your edgy speech for when you win the award and then you can deliver it and the only person who you'll distract from if you fail is you.) (/rant)

RedWombat
11-21-2014, 09:16 AM
I had to read the links to understand the watermelon thing. And now you're going to have to explain this one to me as well. I don't know what 'probable cause' means or why it's racist.

Forgive me if I repeat things you know perfectly well already--going from the ground up here, and anyone else, feel free to correct me.

"Probable cause" is a legal term. The police are allowed to stop you if they have probable cause to believe that you are engaged in illegal activity.

In the US, people of color are stopped by police at numbers ridiculously higher than white people, and incarcerated at much higher numbers as well. Hundreds of police departments have been investigated for racial profiling, and they mostly all say "we stopped person x because we had probable cause." (I am simplifying greatly, but you get the gist.)

This sort of profiling is illegal, which does nothing to keep it from happening, because for a certain sort of person, being black is probable cause to believe you're doing something wrong.

Reminding a couple of poets, on the eve of a great triumph, that if they walk out on the street they're twenty times more likely to be stopped because of their skin color...

Well, it's pretty damn crass, let's say that much.

franky_s
11-21-2014, 09:29 AM
Thanks RedWombat. I have read about the profiling issue but didn't know about the probable cause link.

And, ew. This is the kind of crap I'd expect to hear from a 14 year old internet troll, not an adult, (professional?) author.

absitinvidia
11-21-2014, 09:35 AM
I had to read the links to understand the watermelon thing. And now you're going to have to explain this one to me as well. I don't know what 'probable cause' means or why it's racist.


In the U.S., "probable cause" means "a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity." When someone says that having two black nominees in the poetry category was "probable cause," he's in essence saying because the nominees are black, they're probably criminals. There is no reading of the "joke" that is not offensive. (Again, I'm relying on reports that he said this.)

NRoach
11-21-2014, 01:12 PM
The reply is meant to point out that a society that provides a racist man with that much power, provides a racist man with that much voice (as a best-selling author of children's literature--children's literature), and makes that racist man the host of a literary awards ceremony is an inherently racist society. The blogger is saying that this incident is symptomatic, just as a malignant tumor is symptomatic of cancer.

I loved the Lemony Snicket books as a kid, but I recently spotted a transmisogynistic joke in his Unauthorized Autobiography, so I'm really not surprised that he's proving himself to be a jerk.

I think the only thing that his success says about society is that well written childrens' books sell well.
If his books were based in his evidently moronic politics, then I'd see your point, but they're not.

It's a bit like saying "JK Rowling is on the left, and she's successful, therefore society is inherently left wing." It just doesn't make sense.

TheNighSwan
11-21-2014, 02:54 PM
The reply is meant to point out that a society that provides a racist man with that much power, provides a racist man with that much voice (as a best-selling author of children's literature--children's literature), and makes that racist man the host of a literary awards ceremony is an inherently racist society.

What.

No, a society is racist because it actively or passively keeps people from specific races down, not because it let people who happen to be hold racist views be succesful.


I'm pretty sure that in a less racist society, Snicket would still be a successful children's book author —he would be more cautious about not letting slip in public what he really thinks, but that would not change what he really thinks.

Ken
11-21-2014, 03:59 PM
The reply is meant to point out that a society that provides a racist man with that much power, provides a racist man with that much voice (as a best-selling author of children's literature--children's literature), and makes that racist man the host of a literary awards ceremony is an inherently racist society. The blogger is saying that this incident is symptomatic, just as a malignant tumor is symptomatic of cancer.

I loved the Lemony Snicket books as a kid, but I recently spotted a transmisogynistic joke in his Unauthorized Autobiography, so I'm really not surprised that he's proving himself to be a jerk.

Society? Just those responsible for making him host, amounting to a few. And those few most likely didn't know he was going to come out and say something like this. So again, condemn Snicket. Not society. That's a sweeping generalization, imo.

amergina
11-21-2014, 05:41 PM
US society is racist, and I'm all for condemning the racism in society. The only way to fix it is to acknowledge it and teach those after us that this sort of shit is wrong.

Ken
11-21-2014, 06:03 PM
As declared in my first post, the US may be as you say. But that conclusion can't be drawn from this single incident, as the blogger is apparently implying. That's all I'm saying.

"Society" is still a broad term. No one who actively participates on this board is racist as far as I know. And no one whom I associate with in everyday life is. When I encounter someone who says something they shouldn't I usually express my feelings on the issue and let them know I don't like such stuff. So maybe instead of society, "the majority" instead. Honestly, I doubt even that. Racists are in the minority, at least these days, which is something to celebrate and be proud of. As to wiping racism out, completely, that sadly may not be possible. My opinion of course.

ps Last but not least I'd argue for a bit of leeway, especially for a fellow writer. Heck, we all say stuff we regret from time to time. Maybe not like this, but other stuff.

Lillith1991
11-21-2014, 06:14 PM
Society? Just those responsible for making him host, amounting to a few. And those few most likely didn't know he was going to come out and say something like this. So again, condemn Snicket. Not society. That's a sweeping generalization, imo.

Ken, I'm going to be blunt. Yes, American society is still pretty damn racists as a whole. It's in the way that a black person and a white person can go into a store and no matter how nice the black persons clothing, they're invariably the one followed or kept an eye on. They could be wearing an obviously expensive business suit straight from the office, and it wouldn't matter. In the fact that black people are much more likely to get pulled over for just driving a decent vehicle. Where people are always surprised my aunt has her damn doctorate because she is not only black but a woman. Where people get surprised that my cousin is just as educated as her mother, because a highly educated black woman is a fluke.

amergina
11-21-2014, 06:50 PM
As declared in my first post, the US may be as you say. But that conclusion can't be drawn from this single incident, as the blogger is apparently implying. That's all I'm saying.

I think your assumption that the blogger is drawing that conclusion based solely on this single incident may be false, Ken.

RedWombat
11-21-2014, 07:13 PM
"Society" is still a broad term. No one who actively participates on this board is racist as far as I know.

Hi, Ken! I'm RedWombat, I actively participate in these boards, and I benefit from systemic racism all the damn time.

If I go into a high end store looking scruffy, I am assumed to be eccentric, not a shoplifter. If I want a home loan with my weird erratic income, I get no additional scrutiny 'cos I'm white. I don't have worry about the water treatment plant being dumped in my neighborhood because there's a poor Latino neighborhood a few miles away (and that example is ripped directly from the headlines a few year back.) When I opt for a pat-down at the airport, it is assumed that I am pregnant or have a phobia, poor dear, not that I have something to hide. Cops smile at me on the street corner. I get off with warnings. If someone breaks into the house, I can call the sheriff in absolute certainty that no one will question who's fault it was--hell, in this state, I could shoot a man on the porch and be lauded as a valiant home defender! Affluent schools ask me to visit them to talk to kids. I get to be on panels about things like social media, not always on the same minority-writers-in-SF slot.

Voting hours cater to my schedule and my ID is good anywhere and never given a jot of extra scrutiny.

If I run on the street, I am a jogger, not fleeing the scene of the crime.

I have never in my life been told I'm "one of the good ones."

And the horrible beauty of this arrangement is that I can get all these marvelous benefits without having to entertain any thoughts about racism, with a MLK magnet on the fridge, and believing truly in my heart that we are all equal.

I try very hard not to be a racist. I succeed--I hope--more often than I fail. But if you think I'm not benefiting from institutional racism, then let me tell you, I majorly am.

yayeahyeah
11-21-2014, 08:09 PM
Some good has come of this, at least - after an initial apology which was underwhelming, to say the least, Handler has followed with a sincere-sounding one, a donation of $10k to the We Need Diverse Books Indiegogo, and a pledge to match donations over next 24 hours up to $100k.

Obviously, this doesn't change the stupidity of his racist remarks in the first place, but I'm pleased he seems to have realised just why they were wrong, and is taking steps to try and make up for them.

amergina
11-21-2014, 08:10 PM
As a followup:

http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2014/11/handler-apologizes-racist-remarks-pledges-100k-matching-gift-weneeddiversebooks/ (no login required)


By early Friday morning Handler expanded that to a bigger admission: "My remarks on Wednesday night at #NBAwards were monstrously inappropriate and yes, racist." He added, "It would be heartbreaking for the #NBAwards conversation to focus on my behavior instead of great books. So can we do this?" Handler pledged a minimum gift of $10,000 to the Indie GoGo Campaign for #WeNeedDiverseBooks (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/we-need-diverse-books), and said he will match contributions over the next 24 hours up to $100,000.

So at least he's being more repentant about it, naming it for what it was, and doing something productive.

TheNighSwan
11-21-2014, 08:11 PM
I try very hard not to be a racist. I succeed--I hope--more often than I fail. But if you think I'm not benefiting from institutional racism, then let me tell you, I majorly am.

Where did he imply he was thinking such a thing?

He said " No one who actively participates on this board is racist as far as I know."

Benefiting from the flaws of the society you happen to live in because you have a certain skin color is one thing. But have you ever tried to push these benefits? Have you ever commited some wrongdoing with the intent of getting away with it because you are white and/or because your victim was black? Have you ever intentionally emphatised your whiteness in order to get something that you should not normally be able to get? Have you ever used the color of your skin to get away from legal duties or obligations?

If no, then you are probably not racist, and his point stands. You don't wrong others just by existing just because you happen to be in a group that isn't persecuted.

RedWombat
11-21-2014, 08:29 PM
Have you ever commited some wrongdoing with the intent of getting away with it because you are white

Yes. Next question?

Hapax Legomenon
11-21-2014, 08:34 PM
Yes, I would say that benefitting from institutionalized racism is not the same as being racist. I mean how is someone supposed to prevent cops from seeing them as an innocent jogger while jogging? White people are not capable of mind control on and individual level, as far as I am aware...

ULTRAGOTHA
11-21-2014, 08:45 PM
As declared in my first post, the US may be as you say. But that conclusion can't be drawn from this single incident, as the blogger is apparently implying. That's all I'm saying.

No one is drawing conclusions from this single incident. This single incident is part of an enormous bulk of incidents perpetuated by both society as a whole (Laws limiting participation in voting by minorities, harsher penalties for minorities than whites for the same crime, worse schools in minority neighborhoods, fewer minorities hired and promoted over equally or even lesser qualified whites, minorities being arrested in larger percentages than whites for the same actions...the list goes on and on) and by individuals within that society.

What Handler said was racist and utterly inappropriate in any venue, much less at an event where Woodson just received an award for her writing. That's right up there with Ellison assaulting the Guest of Honor on stage at the Hugos (in our also deeply sexist society).

God forbid a Black woman dare to receive an award without some asshat reminding her she's only there on sufferance. No, Handler had to make absolutely sure Woodson knew just how lowly she is and keep her in her place.

:rant: :rant:

Jamesaritchie
11-21-2014, 09:11 PM
Here's what gets me. Apparently he added this, taken from the Salon article:
So he knew it wasn't cool. I just -- That doesn't make any sense to me. If you know what you're saying isn't cool, and you also know it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, then why say it? Geez.

Because sometimes the mouth is faster on the draw than the brain. Who hasn't said something incredibly stupid without thinking, particularly if it's for a laugh?

Jamesaritchie
11-21-2014, 09:13 PM
No one is drawing conclusions from this single incident. This single incident is part of an enormous bulk of incidents perpetuated by both society as a whole (Laws limiting participation in voting by minorities, harsher penalties for minorities than whites for the same crime, worse schools in minority neighborhoods, fewer minorities hired and promoted over equally or even lesser qualified whites, minorities being arrested in larger percentages than whites for the same actions...the list goes on and on) and by individuals within that society.



G

:rant: :rant:

You don't really believe all this, do you? It's all been completely disproved.

Drachen Jager
11-21-2014, 09:59 PM
Because sometimes the mouth is faster on the draw than the brain. Who hasn't said something incredibly stupid without thinking, particularly if it's for a laugh?

But that's just the point. He'd brought it up jokingly with Woodson earlier, from his description of her reaction, she was not amused. He had lots of time between that incident and the telling of the "joke" on stage to reconsider, yet he still said it.

This is not an off-the-cuff remark. It was planned. After he planned it, there were red flags, indicating it might be a bad idea, but he went ahead with it anyhow, because he apparently thought he knew better than she did about what was appropriate and what was funny.

It wasn't even the ONLY racist thing he said that night. He said he hoped to win the Coretta Scott King award one day (reserved for black writers, or books with predominantly black characters (which he's never written)). And there is a report he referred to two black poets as "Probable Cause".

That's a pattern and not an accident.

He's apologized for one comment and on the second try he actually managed to make it a real apology. I think he needs to apologize for the other comments and for the pattern of behavior.

Drachen Jager
11-21-2014, 10:08 PM
And for those wondering "how bad is racism in America"?

A fire chief refused to help a black family involved in a car accident a couple of days ago. He had his men drive the white guy in the other car to the hospital and pick him up afterwards, but reportedly said, “We ain’t taking no n–gers here.”

When questioned about it by an Asian American reporter, he said, "“Do you understand English, darling? Do you understand English?”

http://www.salon.com/2014/11/20/kentucky_fire_chief_refuses_to_help_black_family_a fter_traffic_accident_we_aint_taking_no_n_gers_her e/

These attitudes are prevalent throughout the States in one region (I think it was Ferguson actually) 90% of the stop and frisks are done on blacks, even though they are only 1/3 of the population AND internal police reporting shows that the few stop and frisks they do on whites are over 10x more likely to find illegal substances.

Amadan
11-21-2014, 10:08 PM
You don't really believe all this, do you? It's all been completely disproved.


All of it? Really? Completely? Please expound.

Phaeal
11-21-2014, 10:22 PM
It wasn't even the ONLY racist thing he said that night. He said he hoped to win the Coretta Scott King award one day (reserved for black writers, or books with predominantly black characters (which he's never written)). And there is a report he referred to two black poets as "Probable Cause".


Hmm. The Coretta Scott King award remark makes me wonder. Total speculation, obviously, but could the pattern be an example of supposing that minority writers have an unfair advantage re awards, because the award givers want to look PC? Hence Handler wanted to underline the fact that, HEY, these winners/nominees are MINORITIES, surprise, surprise? Again, total speculation, but....

Over the years I have heard many obnoxious comments about award winners or just people who get publishing deals, implying or flat out stating that the person wouldn't have gotten the award or deal except that she was a minority of whatever sort.

RedWombat
11-21-2014, 10:23 PM
Because sometimes the mouth is faster on the draw than the brain. Who hasn't said something incredibly stupid without thinking, particularly if it's for a laugh?

No one, which is why the presenters at award shows generally write outlines and have notes and don't try to improv the whole thing.

Maryn
11-21-2014, 10:23 PM
You don't really believe all this, do you? It's all been completely disproved.Cite credible sources, please. I truly do not believe you can. Prove me wrong.

Tazlima
11-21-2014, 10:27 PM
Yes, I would say that benefitting from institutionalized racism is not the same as being racist.

I'd have to agree with this. I think of it this way. Let's say I move into a new house and there's an avocado tree in the backyard. Now I'm not a big fan of avocados and I would never have planted an avocado tree. I decide that next spring I'll cut it down and replace it with a fig tree, since I love fresh figs.

However, right at this moment, that avocado tree is covered in perfect, ripe avocados. You know what? I'm going to harvest them. Maybe I'll sell them. Maybe I'll give them to the neighbors as a way to get acquainted. The one thing I won't do is leave them to rot on the tree. That would be wasteful and foolish.

If society gives someone an unfair advantage, it's sensible to use that advantage, even as the person benefitting recognizes that it's unfair and fights for change.

For example: I'm married and enjoying all the legal benefits associated with married status. I live in Louisiana, so this means I'm directly benefitting from an unfair advantage because I'm heterosexual. At the same time, I strongly support gay marriage and hope that within my lifetime I'll get to see it legalized and accepted throughout the US (awesomely, it looks like that's going to happen).

RedWombat
11-21-2014, 11:42 PM
I'd have to agree with this. I think of it this way. Let's say I move into a new house and there's an avocado tree in the backyard. Now I'm not a big fan of avocados and I would never have planted an avocado tree. I decide that next spring I'll cut it down and replace it with a fig tree, since I love fresh figs.

However, right at this moment, that avocado tree is covered in perfect, ripe avocados. You know what? I'm going to harvest them. Maybe I'll sell them. Maybe I'll give them to the neighbors as a way to get acquainted. The one thing I won't do is leave them to rot on the tree. That would be wasteful and foolish.

If society gives someone an unfair advantage, it's sensible to use that advantage, even as the person benefitting recognizes that it's unfair and fights for change.

For example: I'm married and enjoying all the legal benefits associated with married status. I live in Louisiana, so this means I'm directly benefitting from an unfair advantage because I'm heterosexual. At the same time, I strongly support gay marriage and hope that within my lifetime I'll get to see it legalized and accepted throughout the US (awesomely, it looks like that's going to happen).

...except that avocado trees are largely victimless crimes and the fact you have one doesn't mean other people are being deprived of theirs. This analogy is honestly kinda...just...seriously?

Look, suppose I embezzle a million dollars from retired seniors and then bury the money in the backyard (perhaps under a convenient avocado tree.) Then I have a heart attack and die and my house is sold and you buy it.

Suppose someday you find that million dollars.

You didn't embezzle it. You don't think of yourself as a criminal. Is that million dollars just a benefit you can use?

Or will you feel a pang of conscience and think "some of this benefit came from people being hurt and maybe I didn't cause that but I also didn't earn this--what do I do now?"

(Note that I do not know the perfect answer to this question. I just think we should at least be aware and not minimize when we're reaping the benefits of someone else's unhappiness, even if we didn't do it directly ourselves)

Hapax Legomenon
11-22-2014, 12:03 AM
How would she know that it was an embezzled million dollars and not just some crazy old coot hoarding money for when the apocalypse happened?

I guess that has nothing to do with racism but people find weird stores of things in houses left by the previous owner, including money. I do not really think most people question why people keep a hoard of something useful under the floorboards, though such a vast sum (or a dead body) would raise questions. But say, a thousand dollars, which were actually stolen? I don't think it's the new house owner's responsibility to question that.

Also I guess there's the thing where it would be silly for a white person to stop jogging because there are non-white people who cannot jog without being assumed to be a criminal, or for a heterosexual couple to not get married because homosexual couples cannot. These are both problems that could be solved for the minorities without "cost" to the majority because neither of these situations are a zero-sum game. I'd think the obligations of using one's privilege would be different in situations where it is a zero-sum game than when it isn't, wouldn't it?

Lillith1991
11-22-2014, 12:22 AM
How exactly did this go from the comment being racist to the poor white people can't control how society treats them spiel? And why does the spiel always show up? His comment was racist, he ran it by a POC who found it racist the first time and then proceeded to use it. The man shows a pattern of thinking this type of crap is ok. Thats the facts.

Ken
11-22-2014, 12:27 AM
RedWombat. You're being a bit too hard on yourself, imo. As said upstream, benefitting from institutionalized or systemic racism doesn't make you a racist.

Take an extreme situation from the 1950's or thereabouts. Some jazz bands were integrated by then. (There were actually laws on the books preventing integrated groups from playing in public venues, incredibly.) By the 50's things had improved some. Still, when bands travelled about the country they met up with blatant racism. White band players were allowed to eat in restaurants and stay in hotels whereas the black players were forced to accept other options. Did that make the white band members racists? Not at all. They were anything but.

Of course they could have done things differently. Some did, standing up for their black colleagues. "If they aren't welcome here count us out too!" Very admirable and took a lot of courage, but still not a matter of being or not being racist. More so of integrity and strength of character, perhaps "to fault," as they say in books.

People like them are what shape the world for the better. And it is better. Considerably so. Let's not lose track of that while pointing out things that continue to be in need of improvement.

Tazlima
11-22-2014, 12:51 AM
...except that avocado trees are largely victimless crimes and the fact you have one doesn't mean other people are being deprived of theirs. This analogy is honestly kinda...just...seriously?

Look, suppose I embezzle a million dollars from retired seniors and then bury the money in the backyard (perhaps under a convenient avocado tree.) Then I have a heart attack and die and my house is sold and you buy it.

Suppose someday you find that million dollars.

You didn't embezzle it. You don't think of yourself as a criminal. Is that million dollars just a benefit you can use?

Or will you feel a pang of conscience and think "some of this benefit came from people being hurt and maybe I didn't cause that but I also didn't earn this--what do I do now?"

(Note that I do not know the perfect answer to this question. I just think we should at least be aware and not minimize when we're reaping the benefits of someone else's unhappiness, even if we didn't do it directly ourselves)

1) I'm not minimizing anything. I apologize if my analogy seemed cavalier. I promise you it's an issue I take very seriously.

2) Society frequently offers unfair benefits to one group that do not directly injure other groups. In my example, the fact that I can marry does not directly harm those who can't. In your own example, other shoppers aren't viewed with suspicion because you're white and perceived as innocent. If you weren't present, the behavior toward them would be unchanged.

3) Regarding your example: Stolen money would fall under the category of a legal issue. Therefore, in this scenario the law should provide an appropriate course of action. I'd have to do some research to be certain, but I seriously doubt that if I found stolen money with known victims, the law would say I could keep it. It originally belonged to the victims and was taken from them illegally, therefore it should be returned to them or (since they WERE elderly) their children, just like any other stolen property.

Ultimately, when society gives you unfair advantages, you have two options. You can either utilize those advantages or not. I can't, as an individual, grant people the right to gay marriage. I can only choose whether I will get married myself, or refuse to marry in support of the cause. There are those who have taken the second option, refusing to marry in solidarity with those who cannot. It is this mindset that I disagree with, although I can appreciate the sentiment behind it.

Equality is not a set of scales. You don't have to bring down the high in order to raise the low. Instead it's a cliff we're all climbing together. If I'm higher than others on that cliff, I'm not going to climb back down to join them. If I did that, they would not be any better off and I'd have to climb up again myself. Instead I'm going to throw a rope and help pull them up to my level so we can all enjoy the view from the top.

Edited after reading Ken's Post: I stand corrected. There are times when the "solidarity" method is an effective catalyst for social change. One is the individual vs. individual example he provided. Another is when the person taking a stand is famous enough that the public will take notice of their actions.

RedWombat
11-22-2014, 01:13 AM
Also I guess there's the thing where it would be silly for a white person to stop jogging because there are non-white people who cannot jog without being assumed to be a criminal?

If "white people should give up jogging" was genuinely your takeaway from my enumeration of benefits of systemic racism, I do not believe we are going to find any common ground for a good faith discussion, and shall therefore bow out lest I accidentally provide more straw.

Roxxsmom
11-22-2014, 01:27 AM
What.

No, a society is racist because it actively or passively keeps people from specific races down, not because it let people who happen to be hold racist views be succesful.


I'm pretty sure that in a less racist society, Snicket would still be a successful children's book author —he would be more cautious about not letting slip in public what he really thinks, but that would not change what he really thinks.

This. And we seem to be living in times when it's becoming more socially acceptable for people to openly say things that are racist.

I can just see how his comment about the watermelon might have been an off-the-cuff gaffe, an awkward attempt to illustrate the ludicrous stereotype by pointing out how someone doesn't live up to it at all. But the "probable cause" comment, and the fact that he planned the comment in advance makes this seem less likely.


No one who actively participates on this board is racist as far as I know. I participate in this board, and I've caught myself making assumptions or believing things about people or situations involving race that are, I'm afraid, racist. I try to purge these things from my psyche when I become aware of them, so maybe I don't qualify as "a racist," but that doesn't mean I don't have some attitudes or beliefs that are tainted by racism.

And that's without even going out into the whole institutionalized racism issue, which so many people deny even exists.

As for not having any friends who are racist, you are incredibly lucky then. I know, and yes love, some people who hold racist views. People who really do say things like what is (humorously) illustrated in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdyin6uipy4). Or who hold attitudes about who is a "regular" American (in a less blatant way, perhaps) illustrated in this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWynJkN5HbQ).

Racism is part of the sea we're all swimming in, and like fish not noticing that they're wet, we're often unaware of these issues. This doesn't make us bad people, but it's still a type of racism. The good thing is that, unlike fish, we can choose to step outside ourselves sometimes. We can examine our attitudes and institutions and try to change them for the better.

Jamesaritchie
11-22-2014, 01:32 AM
Cite credible sources, please. I truly do not believe you can. Prove me wrong.

No, prove yourself right When you make a claim, you either have evidence to back it up, or you shouldn't make it.

But I'll throw you one bone. Go look at actual case records of blacks and whites getting different sentences for the same drug crime. If this is the only statistic you look at, it seems unfair.

Tut then look at prior convictions, and you get another story. Yes, the crime is the same, but prior criminal history almost never is. This is taken into account when sentencing, but not in those who want statistics to prove their case.

Percentages, of course, have nothing whatsoever to do with crime. We don't arrest or convict on a percentage basis, but purely on a who gets caught basis. When you look at this, and at prior convictions, even this is the same.

The only area anyone has been able to show a difference is in different form of the same drug, but even this has a reason. One form is not trafficked often in high crime areas, while the other is. I don't know that this makes it fair, but it is a reason.

You want credible sources, stop reading internet claims, and go to the FBI. Nothing is a secret, and the numbers are all there, as credible as can be had, if you want to find them.

Blacks commit far more violent crimes than whites, they're repeat offenders far more often than whites, and they are far, far more likely to be involved in the distribution of drugs than whites. This means far more of them are in prison.

It's kind of hard to blame them, from my perspective. I've been dirt poor, and every statistic where blacks look bad is almost certain to be drug related. It's money when you're broke. Of a LOT of money when nothing else is available except part-time work flipping burgers.

Any group of poor people who happens to live where there's a high demand for drugs is likely to take the money.

In other words, most of these numbers about blacks aren't racism, and they aren't unfair except in one way. Inner city people are usually desperate, we have an insane war on drugs, and several million people are prisoners of this war.

Put whites in the position blacks are in, and put blacks in the position blacks are in, and prisons couldn't begin to hold the white people who committed similar crimes.

Most of the people in prison shouldn't be in or out because they are or aren't black, they shouldn't be there because the crime they commuted was most likely nonviolent drug use or small sale.

Stop the war on drugs, and most of the prison population goes away. Stop the poverty, and most crime of every kind will decrease graeatly.

Kylabelle
11-22-2014, 01:37 AM
James, I believe it is you who made the claim that is being challenged, as you claimed in your response to Ultragotha's post that institutionalized racism basically does not exist, and has been proven not to exist. Maryn is simply asking you to back up your statement, which you have not done. It doesn't work to turn that around on her and say, "No, you."

TheNighSwan
11-22-2014, 01:45 AM
And we seem to be living in times when it's becoming more socially acceptable for people to openly say things that are racist.

Well, you could interpret this in a different light: we live in a time where people are increasingly being called out when they make racist comments that twenty or thirty years ago would have been brushed off as nothing and harmless.

This is like crime rate rising not because they are more crimes, but because people report existing crime more.

Roxxsmom
11-22-2014, 04:24 AM
Well, you could interpret this in a different light: we live in a time where people are increasingly being called out when they make racist comments that twenty or thirty years ago would have been brushed off as nothing and harmless.

This is like crime rate rising not because they are more crimes, but because people report existing crime more.

True, and with some of the biggest issues dealt with, it makes sense that people will focus more on some of the smaller issues, including the microaggressions that were once just ignored, or shrugged off as "harmless gaffes," or even just the ways things are (re institutionalized racism). It's not that the gaffes happen, so much, it's the denial that they're indicative of racism (and other forms of prejudice too), and of course, the orchestrated outrage about the criticism, along with the claims that it's some kind of reverse discrimination, that is also an issue.

Don't know if that's happened here re the Lemony Snykett comment (people fiercely defending him, and even threatening the people who are criticizing him), but it sure as hell happens in other situations where people are criticized for racist or sexist things they do.

Ken
11-22-2014, 04:26 AM
The good thing is that, unlike fish, we can choose to step outside ourselves sometimes. We can examine our attitudes and institutions and try to change them for the better.

... or make our way to a better pond ;-)
(guess I am lucky in that regard, or delusional)

Cool that you self-reflect and examine. That's a great trait. I have faults of my own. Always striving to improve.

This is a good point V


Well, you could interpret this in a different light: we live in a time where people are increasingly being called out when they make racist comments that twenty or thirty years ago would have been brushed off as nothing and harmless.

This is like crime rate rising not because they are more crimes, but because people report existing crime more.

The bar has been raised in terms of harmony.

Roxxsmom
11-22-2014, 04:41 AM
... or make our way to a better pond ;-)
(guess I am lucky in that regard, or delusional)

Cool that you self-reflect and examine. That's a great trait. I have faults of my own. Always striving to improve.

This is a good point V



The bar has been raised in terms of harmony.

But we're all swimming in the same ocean. Some of us may be fortunate to be in lagoons that are more sheltered than others, but pollution from one place does seep over to affect all of us to varying degrees. But the people the pollution is targeting are hurt by it the most.

Isolating ourselves from it won't work.

Ken
11-22-2014, 04:47 AM
true, but honestly roxxsmom there are some parts of the country that are a lot better than others in terms of racial harmony. found that out by traveling. but, in terms of the larger scheme of things you are totally correct. one world. one species.

amergina
11-22-2014, 05:07 AM
Racism is a global thing.

Oh, agreed. But I can only speak about the culture I know, which is US.

And this thread started with a joke based on a racist caricature that's pretty specific to America.

Chrissy
11-22-2014, 05:25 AM
This. And we seem to be living in times when it's becoming more socially acceptable for people to openly say things that are racist.

Something that has been bugging me lately in regard to this, and it actually has to do with my own kids, one black (teenager), one white (grown), and it's with each other (we're all in the same household): racist jokes. It almost seems like they're coming out--both of them--with racist comments as "jokes" to try to minimize the realness of racism. It's like... I don't quite know how to describe it, but I feel like they're dealing with racism in their own way, which is "jokey" -- and they may very well get that from their mom, so I don't know. I do protest, and I continue to explain the racist elements, and both of them are like, "Mom, we know. Chill."

I wonder how many people, especially young people, recognize racism and then joke about it because jokes are a cover for... uncomfortable-ness? Or in response to what they see as overkill, because they can't feel it--the racism? What happened 50 years ago seems to mean next to nothing to a young person who hasn't experienced it, generally speaking. (Not that they shouldn't try to use their imaginations.) Or something else. I don't know, just posing my own questions. Oh, and this has nothing to do with the OP.


I can just see how his comment about the watermelon might have been an off-the-cuff gaffe, an awkward attempt to illustrate the ludicrous stereotype by pointing out how someone doesn't live up to it at all. But the "probable cause" comment, and the fact that he planned the comment in advance makes this seem less likely.

Agreed, so much. I almost posted something similar earlier today. That probable cause comment? That has to do with active discrimination today. That shit happens. Like, all the time. How many people, how many kids, how many mothers of kids suffer this happening, or fear this happening, right now? It's so unfunny I can't begin to describe how offensive it is.

Kallithrix
11-22-2014, 06:01 AM
White band players were allowed to eat in restaurants and stay in hotels whereas the black players were forced to accept other options. Did that make the white band members racists? Not at all. They were anything but.

Of course they could have done things differently. Some did, standing up for their black colleagues. "If they aren't welcome here count us out too!" Very admirable and took a lot of courage, but still not a matter of being or not being racist. More so of integrity and strength of character


Well... I disagree that this is not racist. At the very least it supports and perpetuates racism, which in my eyes is just as bad. Let me take a different example.

Next year, I am hoping to attend a big international reenactment event with groups from all over the world. The first of its kind was held 3 years ago, and I made some fantastic friends who I am looking forward to seeing again. The one I am in touch with most often and now consider a very close friend is black, which as far as all the participating groups are concerned has no bearing on anything. We have an inclusive policy that rejects any discrimination on the basis of race/gender/religion/sexual orientation etc.

But another reenactment group, which is not part of our umbrella organisation, does not support this. They do not want women or ethnic minorities to portray the combatants of this period, ostensibly on the grounds that it is unauthentic, but which we know is just thinly veiled racism/sexism. Luckily they do not have much influence with the event organisers, and have actually been banned from the event. But if they did convince them to ban ethnic minorities from this event, do you think I would still go?

Hell no. Much as I'm looking forward to this event, I could not participate if it made me complicit in supporting racism, or even permitting it to go unchallenged. I'd rather boycott it and get together with my friend to organise our own reenactment event where everyone was welcome.

I'm not necessarily saying that permitting a crime or injustice to occur makes you just as guilty of it. But as they say, all it takes for evil to triumph is that the good do nothing.

mccardey
11-22-2014, 07:13 AM
How would she know that it was an embezzled million dollars and not just some crazy old coot hoarding money for when the apocalypse happened?

But assume that (as is the case with racism) the fact of The Great Embezzlement had been made perfectly clear through the years.

Does that change things for you? If it was known that the cache was collected through injustice and unequal opportunity - wouldn't that make it even less ok to just pocket the find?

Samsonet
11-22-2014, 08:45 AM
I'm really confused about this metaphor.

absitinvidia
11-22-2014, 11:14 AM
Hmm. The Coretta Scott King award remark makes me wonder. Total speculation, obviously, but could the pattern be an example of supposing that minority writers have an unfair advantage re awards, because the award givers want to look PC? Hence Handler wanted to underline the fact that, HEY, these winners/nominees are MINORITIES, surprise, surprise? Again, total speculation, but....

Over the years I have heard many obnoxious comments about award winners or just people who get publishing deals, implying or flat out stating that the person wouldn't have gotten the award or deal except that she was a minority of whatever sort.

From what I've read, this guy is confirmed as having made two obviously racist comments that evening. That does not predispose me to bend over backwards (as you describe above) to try to find a non-racist explanation for what appears to be a third racist comment. At some point, Occam's Razor wins.

Ken
11-22-2014, 04:22 PM
Well... I disagree that this is not racist. At the very least it supports and perpetuates racism, which in my eyes is just as bad. Let me take a different example.

Next year, I am hoping to attend a big international reenactment event with groups from all over the world. The first of its kind was held 3 years ago, and I made some fantastic friends who I am looking forward to seeing again. The one I am in touch with most often and now consider a very close friend is black, which as far as all the participating groups are concerned has no bearing on anything. We have an inclusive policy that rejects any discrimination on the basis of race/gender/religion/sexual orientation etc.

But another reenactment group, which is not part of our umbrella organisation, does not support this. They do not want women or ethnic minorities to portray the combatants of this period, ostensibly on the grounds that it is unauthentic, but which we know is just thinly veiled racism/sexism. Luckily they do not have much influence with the event organisers, and have actually been banned from the event. But if they did convince them to ban ethnic minorities from this event, do you think I would still go?

Hell no. Much as I'm looking forward to this event, I could not participate if it made me complicit in supporting racism, or even permitting it to go unchallenged. I'd rather boycott it and get together with my friend to organise our own reenactment event where everyone was welcome.

I'm not necessarily saying that permitting a crime or injustice to occur makes you just as guilty of it. But as they say, all it takes for evil to triumph is that the good do nothing.

That's a good point, particularly the concluding line. Also like the term "complicit." Funny how a word can put things in a perspective, slightly altered, and all of a sudden feasible. Thnx for the anecdote. And good going on being true to your beliefs in words and actions. Easy to do with the former. Not so much with the later.


Something that has been bugging me lately in regard to this, and it actually has to do with my own kids, one black (teenager), one white (grown), and it's with each other (we're all in the same household): racist jokes. It almost seems like they're coming out--both of them--with racist comments as "jokes" to try to minimize the realness of racism. It's like... I don't quite know how to describe it, but I feel like they're dealing with racism in their own way, which is "jokey" -- and they may very well get that from their mom, so I don't know. I do protest, and I continue to explain the racist elements, and both of them are like, "Mom, we know. Chill."

Just the other night two black teen girls (18-19ish) referred to be as "one bad-looking n-word," as they were walking passed me. Will take it as a compliment, I suppose :-) Not black, myself. The word used to really unsettle me and tick me off. By now though I've become rather inured. Black teens use it so often that it's kinda become just a word. One with a horrible history, of course. Not that I'm entirely ok with it. If I could wish it away --

Manuel Royal
11-22-2014, 10:02 PM
Now, if Jacqueline Woodson had made that joke about herself, it would've been funny. What an odd thing for Handler to say. It sounds to me like a really awkward attempt at a joke designed to show how non-racist one is, by explicating and subverting a stereotype. That can work in the right context and with the right tone -- which doesn't sound like what happened here.

I don't know much about Daniel Handler, but maybe he lacks the social skills to know when the right context for something like that exists. Just coming out with that joke in public, with no set-up ... recipe for disaster. Anyway, it's a pretty lame joke.

Well, I hope this embarrassment helps sales of Brown Girl Dreaming.

(I was a teenager before I learned that watermelon and fried chicken were part of a racist stereotype. Living in the South, I just thought they were great food I'd never turn down. I'm fat.)

ULTRAGOTHA
11-22-2014, 10:57 PM
He did try that joke out on Woodson before the ceremony. She was unimpressed. He told it again anyway.

ULTRAGOTHA
11-22-2014, 11:12 PM
I came across this piece by Nikky Finney (http://nikkyfinney.net/watermelon.html), who won the National Book Award for Poetry.

And I can see why she won.

Lauram6123
11-22-2014, 11:47 PM
I came across this piece by Nikky Finney (http://nikkyfinney.net/watermelon.html), who won the National Book Award for Poetry.

And I can see why she won.

That is a must read piece. Thanks for posting it.

Perks
11-22-2014, 11:56 PM
There are times you must look at the whole package. You look at or hear the comment; you look at the person making it. Daniel Handler is not clueless, he is not moronic, and he is not unaware. The comment was mean-spirited and he is a racist asshole.Yep. That's how I see it as well. What a disgusting thing for him to have done.

Perks
11-23-2014, 12:26 AM
I came across this piece by Nikky Finney (http://nikkyfinney.net/watermelon.html), who won the National Book Award for Poetry.

And I can see why she won.

She makes the point several times that this was the National Book Awards, and I think that's part of what is so depressing about this incident.

If you can't get it right at even the National Book Awards, that's a fucking shame. And I mean "shame" as in truely shameful, not a pale condemnation of the "unfortunate".

eqb
11-23-2014, 01:46 AM
There are times you must look at the whole package. You look at or hear the comment; you look at the person making it. Daniel Handler is not clueless, he is not moronic, and he is not unaware. The comment was mean-spirited and he is a racist asshole.

This, a thousand times.

I am so fucking sick of white people trying to excuse other white people of racism. Just as I am sick of men rushing to use the #notallmen excuse. The world is getting better, but stop trying to school people on their own experience.

Lillith1991
11-23-2014, 02:03 AM
This, a thousand times.

I am so fucking sick of white people trying to excuse other white people of racism. Just as I am sick of men rushing to use the #notallmen excuse. The world is getting better, but stop trying to school people on their own experience.

I may be in love with you for this, if you'll excuse the hyperbole. I'm in 1000% agreement with you on this one. I've tried to actually bring up the experiences of normal non-white people in this damn country, and I can count on one hand the number of people who have actually listened instead of apologizing for the bigotted words of this jerk off. Appologia doesn't help anyone, admiting there's a problem and goddamn listening to the ones that are always getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop is what helps.

Roxxsmom
11-23-2014, 02:10 AM
This, a thousand times.

I am so fucking sick of white people trying to excuse other white people of racism. Just as I am sick of men rushing to use the #notallmen excuse. The world is getting better, but stop trying to school people on their own experience.

This is so true. And a common response these days when something like this happens is to assert that the person who is bothered by it is just too sensitive, or is creating a tempest in a teapot, or is even derailing someone else's accomplishment to beat their drum about sexism or racism.

The thing is, it's never just about that one "gaffe," or one "bad" joke, or one "tacky" shirt, or even necessarily about how innocently meant it may or may not have been. It's about living in a world where this kind of thing happens all the time, every day. It's the proverbial death by a thousand cuts.

Phaeal
11-23-2014, 05:45 PM
From what I've read, this guy is confirmed as having made two obviously racist comments that evening. That does not predispose me to bend over backwards (as you describe above) to try to find a non-racist explanation for what appears to be a third racist comment. At some point, Occam's Razor wins.

Confused. How would implying a writer only won an award because minority be a NONracist implication?

Alessandra Kelley
11-23-2014, 06:36 PM
Confused. How would implying a writer only won an award because minority be a NONracist implication?

I don't think absitinvidia was trying to imply that there was.

I think absitinvidia meant more that by the third incident, even the loud apologists who cry that there is no racism, or that this particular incident was not racist or that particular incident doesn't count, hadn't got a leg to stand on.

Roxxsmom
11-24-2014, 04:04 AM
Chuck Wendig weighed in on this issue in his blog today (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/11/23/i-am-a-racist-and-i-am-a-sexist-and-probably-some-other-ists-too/). He made the same point I tried to make upthread--that one can be racist/sexist etc. without even being aware of it or having any conscious malice towards anyone. Our attitudes are often unconscious unless something calls them to our attention. Sometimes that something is someone saying, "Hey, you know what you just said or did? I found it hurtful."

Usual warning about his colorful language.

DreamWeaver
11-24-2014, 10:37 PM
Chuck Wendig weighed in on this issue in his blog today (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/11/23/i-am-a-racist-and-i-am-a-sexist-and-probably-some-other-ists-too/). He made the same point I tried to make upthread--that one can be racist/sexist etc. without even being aware of it or having any conscious malice towards anyone. Our attitudes are often unconscious unless something calls them to our attention. Sometimes that something is someone saying, "Hey, you know what you just said or did? I found it hurtful."

Usual warning about his colorful language.Thanks, that was interesting and thought-provoking.

Literateparakeet
11-25-2014, 04:31 AM
No, prove yourself right When you make a claim, you either have evidence to back it up, or you shouldn't make it.


There is abundant evidence to back up what Maryn and others have said. So much I can't quote it all here, and no I didn't get it from the internet. Anyone that is interested can read all about it in The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. She's an attorney and has credible sources to back up her claims and statistics.

colealpaugh
11-26-2014, 10:14 PM
The closest person in the world to me deals with shit like this on a daily basis. She's a gentle soul who turns the other cheek. I battle over respecting her wishes. My inclination is to want to punch idiots like DH in the nose. Another example of why I made such a lousy Buddhist.

ULTRAGOTHA
11-29-2014, 05:18 AM
Jacqueline Woodson has a piece in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/29/opinion/the-pain-of-the-watermelon-joke.html?_r=1) today.

sayamini
12-08-2014, 08:46 AM
Oh, wow. That's incredibly disappointing. Especially considering I grew up reading this man's work. /:

Rina Evans
12-08-2014, 03:32 PM
Now, if Jacqueline Woodson had made that joke about herself, it would've been funny.

Not it wouldn't. If it's not funny when he makes it, it's not funny when she makes it. I'm tired of this distinction that somehow the same statement is funny from one person and unfunny from another.