School of Racism

used to read a ton of this sort of crap, and what’s worse, I believed it. The result of the ton of readings was that I was persuaded that there were no black people in the suburbs because they all lived in The Wire-sque ghettos. 

Then I actually moved to the suburbs in a deep red area and found out how wrong I’d been. I discovered that there is a robust African American middle class that lives in the suburbs in beautiful big houses with enormous lawns. I now feel like a dumb racist fuck for allowing an offensive image of black people to be implanted in my head. My only excuse is that I’m an immigrant, and it took me a while to make the money to actually move to the suburbs and see for myself. 

Mind you, this all happened long before I read or watched any conservative or even centrist media. It was only after I started to suspect that something was wrong with my favorite The Nation that I decided to give a try to American Conservative. For years, I’d only read sources like The Nation, Jacobin, and Feministing, and wouldn’t even touch anything like Washington Post because I thought it was a mouthpiece of rabid religious fanatics. 

This is the most insidious kind of racism, by the way. This strand of liberalism is so invested into pitying African Americans that its adepts produce a skewed image which does enormous harm. 

And they do the same thing for immigrants in intellectual professions


14 thoughts on “School of Racism”

  1. Things people forget

    There have been black middle and upper classes since around 1900, small but present (in both the south and the north).

    In the late 1970s until the crack epidemic sidelined things, the civil rights movement had set the stage for rapid economic advancement and the black middle class was growing and the “black economy” was growing faster than the white economy (yeah, partly because it was starting further back but still….).

    This doesn’t mean everything is wonderful, but liberals are invested in maintaining the illusion that no social or economic progress has been made among US blacks since around 1953 and that almost all black problems are due to active Bull Connor and George Wallace types* which is just…. nuts.

    Yes, in case you were wondering, I think there are parallels with narratives about colonialism.



    1. I’m also discovering that there is a very interesting and valuable African American culture that has nothing to do with slang, drugs, or what one usually sees portrayed on TV. This culture, for instance, is why I love having black students in language classes. They lend themselves very well to role playing and language games. But you need to be more open to that as a teacher, too, or you’ll convince yourself that black students are mocking you, like one of my colleagues has.


      1. Also, if everybody weren’t so PC and terrified of noticing that human beings tend to have cultural differences, it might be a good idea to give a training to professors from the Northeast who are coming to teach African Americans that yoy need to relax, nobody us bullying you or ganging up on you. It’s a culture that you have to learn because diversity is not about people looking different. It’s a lot more.


        1. “it might be a good idea to give a training to professors from the Northeast who are coming to teach African Americans that yoy need to relax”

          Have them listen to a bunch of black sermons, learning for African Americans is traditionally an interactive process where the learner actively signals their participation

          Here’s a classic (don’t worry, it’s not really about dogs)

          Another, by Aretha Franklin’s father

          This causes no ends of cultural miscommunication….


          1. That’s exactly it. It’s a different learning style that actually makes it easier to implement our official method of teaching languages, which is communicative. Fighting it is ridiculous and counterproductive.


        2. \ nobody us bullying you or ganging up on you.

          Now I am curious what those Af-Am students are doing to create such impression.

          If you wanted, you could write an interesting post on the matter of those cultural differences. I would be interested, and if you posted it on some academic blog quite a few new readers from academic community could join your blog. 🙂


          1. Join my blog or try to get me fired? We are not supposed to encourage anything that helps black students succeed. The liberal dogma only celebrates things that keep African Americans back (e.g. slang). The moment they start getting ahead, you are supposed to put on your pink hat and feel victimized.

            Nobody wants to hear this because this information doesn’t lead to pity and condescension towards black students.


  2. Really? The stereotypes of the suburbs as being incredibly white is true where I live, and I would know because I’ve lived there. My parents still live in the suburbs, and there were zero black people in their neighborhood until very recently (now there’s one black family.) There are totally black people living in nice houses, but they’re mostly in nice parts of the city. I assume there’s must be a significant mass of black people living in suburbs somewhere, but I’ve never seen them. There is a decent immigrant population in the suburban area I work in (mostly Indian.)


      1. There’s a large black population in my city too, we’re about 50/50 white/black, yet barely any black people in any of the suburbs that I’m familiar with (again, I’m not a suburb expert so I could be missing some.) But we have plenty of ritzy neighborhoods with large populations in the city itself, so the “black people are all impoverished people in the hood” isn’t even true in this segregated city, where median white income is double that of blacks and the majority of black children are living in poverty.


        1. “There’s a large black population in my city too, we’re about 50/50 white/black, yet barely any black people in any of the suburbs ”

          Historically the black middle class wasn’t integrated into white suburbs but rather in…. nicer areas of large black neighborhoods (often kind of hidden).

          Real black-white integration in housing is pretty rare. I lived once in a working class neighborhood which was mixed black and white but that was a university town (supplying lots of working class jobs that undocumented workers had no access to) so I’m not sure that counts…


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