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December 05, 2005

Blog Against Racism Day: The Flak

Quite honestly, I expected more criticism leveled at the idea of Blog Against Racism Day. For instance, I expected questions like:

"Blog Against Racism? Who isn't against racism?" (Answer: Almost everyone claims to be against it, but actually saying something to oppose it happens far too rarely in many quarters. IN any event, I more or less modeled the name on Rock Against Racism, which merely indicates that I'm very old.)

"Isn't a single day kind of a meaningless gesture?" or "Isn't posting on a blog kind of a meaningless gesture?" (Sure, but for some folks it'll be a start, and for others a good excuse to write something they've been meaning to. A sustained campaign in word and deed to end racism would obviously be a better thing, and there are such campaigns already in existence, some of which were publicized as a result of BAR Day. Besides: nice way to commemorate Mrs. Parks, don't you think?)

"Oh, great, now the white people are gonna say they've done their part on racism cause they blogged." (This is a hazard of all such efforts. Point me at someone who says they've done their part and I'll help to correct them.)

But there was remarkably little such comment, and that I heard was offered privately and constructively. The diversity of viewpoint offered during Blog Against Racism Day was frankly astounding, with pro-life moms and Ayn Rand quoters and white and Black and Latino and Asian posters and remarkably few trite offerings about "how I hate those other people who are racists."

Of the public criticism, I most valued Jon Miller Whitney's. Jon is thoughtful and humane, and pushes up against a conundrum we've dealt with here in the past. Personally, I would rather confront evil than attempt to transcend it, but I thoroughly commend Jon's thought-provoking post to you.

Joel Sax, who has been doing some eloquent writing on mental illness and prejudice in recent months, punctuates a rather lovely post detailing an interaction at a support group meeting with a bizarre swipe at Blog Against Racism Posters in the mass, implying not only that all of us are middle-class sheltered white liberals (false on all counts) but that none of us have any direct experience with either racial inclusiveness or mental illness in our personal lives. (Also false: my bedroom, for instance, houses one person of color and one chronically depresed person with ADD.) But that's only a minor flaw in a post that would be utterly worthy of inclusion in the Blog Against Racism Day Canon if Joel hadn't made it clear that it was not to be considered as such.

The usually hilarious Ashley at gets included here as well as in the list of participants below, in part because I've been meaning to send folks his way for some time anyway, and in part because his post is a slam at Blog Against Racism Day as well as being a slam against racism. It's like all Meta and shit.

The forbiddingly erudite Chris Holmes snarks mildly at the whole concept, and offers the suggestion that multiculturalism is of equivalent harm to racism, but doesn't explain himself. No matter: at least it introduced me to his blog, which I'll be visiting again.

I've only seen one blatant racist slam at the idea of Blog Against Racism Day, and with the proviso that swarming another person's website to post hostile comments is bad form, I offer a link to said slam for educational purposes only. Before Joel Sax's writing on mental illness pointed out to me the unfairness of using such things as insults, I might have counseled Dr. Moonman to check his dosage of whatever he's taking. But I won't. Also: looks like I'm missing out on some ad revenue.

Posted by Chris Clarke at December 5, 2005 09:54 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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you do have a wicked sense of humor. that's a good thing. IMHO.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at December 6, 2005 08:34 AM
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IN any event, I more or less modeled the name on Rock Against Racism, which merely indicates that I'm very old.

Funny...Rock Against Racism is the first thing that went through my head when I first read the phrase "Blog Against Racism Day", which I guess indicates that I'm as old as you are. Old enough to have seen the Dead Kennedys at an all-day RAR show at Temple Beautiful, back in 19-ought-mumble mumble...

Posted by: Tom Hilton at December 6, 2005 02:24 PM
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You know, that's one thing I don't care for about this blog—all the emphasis on the ads. It's hard to find the content amid all the ads.

The oddball Dr. Moonman's post comments.

Posted by: Orange at December 6, 2005 05:31 PM
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I like both Whitney and Sax's posts, and what's ironic is that like Ashley, even though they are blogging against Blog Against Racism Day, they are also blogging against racism. Sax offers a concrete example of how to fight it, a person at a time, by hearing people when they talk to you about how their race or culture relates to the problem for which they need help, but by seeing each person as a person not a racial specimen. Whitney talks about how one way to fight racism is never to teach it and, if memory serves, how another way is to grow oneself beyond seeing this way in the first place.

I also liked what you said about Whitney's post, that you would "rather confront evil than attempt to transcend it," not, as similar writings might frequently say, that it would be better to do one than the other. I think we need to have both, unfortunately. I think people need to know there's a problem and what it looks like in order to be able to kill it where it still lives, as each of us still runs up against it in our ordinary lives. Then we can choose not to embrace it, teach it, or spread it and to move beyond it.

I also really appreciated Ashley's point about blogging for things that are good. So, Chris, how about it? I mean, we all blog for things about which we feel individually passionate as a matter of course, but since you were so effective at organizing Blog Against Racism Day, how 'bout next organizing a net-wide blogfest for something of your choice? Blogging for the desert? Blogging for the wilderness? Blogging for animals? Blogging for...?

For all I know, maybe you've done this already, in which case I apologize for my ignorance.

Posted by: Sara at December 7, 2005 04:58 AM
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I was just looking for some ads to click to generate some revenue in support of your extravagant-kitchen-remodeling lifestyle.

Oh well.

Posted by: alphabitch at December 7, 2005 09:06 AM
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PS: Please forgive the blogwhoring here, Chris, but I was too busy & out-of-sorts to write anything for Blog Against Racism Day, but I did write this post about taking the bus here in my town about a month too early to submit, if anyone is interested. It does mention Mrs. Parks, and racism.

Posted by: alphabitch at December 7, 2005 09:14 AM
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I wrote a comment over at that joker's blog, subject to approval, and shockingly enough: No joy.

Posted by: Auguste at December 8, 2005 12:17 AM
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I went and read joker's entry, too, along with the others of course. I'm sure no comments exist because they've all been telling him how ignorant and ill-formed his argument is. Not to mention all the run-ons, comma splices and spelling errors that run rampant in his, uh, rant.

Posted by: a nut at December 8, 2005 09:24 AM
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I really liked Jon's post. It has given me a different perspective.

Posted by: a nut at December 8, 2005 09:47 AM
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