This is why white males are so confident in themselves.

The cost of racism by resistance at Resist racism:

Another way that racism harms white people is by denying them the ability to develop their critical thinking. This is due in part to the constant, regular reinforcement that white is right. White people are raised in an environment in which they are regularly assured of their superiority. Their experts are white, like them. And they often live in segregation, thus denying them the opportunity to be exposed to other viewpoints.

What happens in a culture of white supremacy? White people assume that they are the experts. Even in the absence of any history, education or knowledge.

The most blatant example of this is when a white person (typically a white man) is pontificating about a subject and is challenged when a person of color expresses an opinion. The white person will assume that the person of color knows nothing about the subject and will strive to “correct” him or her. I’ve had this happen when a white person who was not in my field was speaking with authority about something in my field. They never assume that you might actually be knowledgeable on the subject, nor do they assume that you might have professional credentials. (I’d also note that this is a very common experience on the part of people of color. And I recently heard a anecdote about this happening to a writer of color with a white man who was discussing her book. Only he didn’t know she had written it.)

It does not cross their minds. This is racism.

[Read the rest of this post at Resist racism.]

It does not even cross their minds that they are noticing race; this assessment occurs unconsciously.

Terry Thomas said, “Do not always assume the other fellow has intelligence equal to yours. He may have more.”

He still doesn’t get it right.

Do not always assume the other person has intelligence equal to yours. He or she may have more.

Do not always assume a woman has intelligence equal to yours. She may have more.

You know that the person pontificating about a subject knows little about it when, based on what he says, it is obvious that he has not taken an introductory course on the subject. Yet, unthinkingly and without reflection, he reflexively “corrects” you when you challenge him, doing so in a patronizing fashion.

Do not always assume a non-white person has intelligence equal to yours. He or she may have more.

50 Responses to “This is why white males are so confident in themselves.”

  1. Elton Says:

    Hey, guess what pisses me off! People telling Asian guys they need to have more self-confidence, unaware of the racial implications!

  2. Restructure! Says:

    @Elton:

    One of the most liberating things I learned was where this white male confidence came from. I used to be confused, because there were always these white males who took up conversation space, pontificating about nonsense. When I tried to express my opinion, they quickly shut me down with such confidence that I doubted myself and backed off.

    The assumption that the expert should be a white male is not just something in the minds of whites and men, but also in the minds of PoC and women. Because they were white males, and because they were so confident in themselves, and because the image of the “expert” doesn’t look like me, I just assumed that they knew what they were talking about and that I didn’t.

    Now that I look back, a lot of my low self-esteem came from my racial and gender perception of myself. I used to look in the mirror and see a chink, a girl chink. No matter what I learned, my education was never going to turn me into a white male with a white beard.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that I now think I’m always right and never wrong. It means that I evaluate truth based on my formal education in philosophy and science, not based on who looks the most like the “expert”.

    This is resistance’s point about racism stopping critical thinking. When we assess the truth of the claim based on who the speaker is instead of evaluating the validity of the claim itself, it blocks critical thinking.

  3. macon d Says:

    Yes, it’s certainly true that the world around me validates my white (and hetero) masculinity. Which is not to say that all white males grow up feeling confident (for other reasons, I was a terribly shy, withdrawn, and self-defeating kid). But in relative group terms, yes indeed.

    Dana at Everyday Whiteness wrote about this in a spoken word effort:

    Whiteness defined through sayings such as the good old days when “our” forefathers created land of the free

    White privilege is thinking I can write the perfect poem
    that will fix racism in America, save the world
    because I learned from every adult to believe in me.

    R also wrote: Do not always assume a non-white person has intelligence equal to yours. He or she may have more.

    No doubt. Actually, when it comes to intelligence, I think that due to stereotypes (which are media perpetuated), some white people actually feel intimidated by Asian people. They assume that he or she DOES have more.

  4. Restructure! Says:

    @macon d:

    No doubt. Actually, when it comes to intelligence, I think that due to stereotypes (which are media perpetuated), some white people actually feel intimidated by Asian people. They assume that he or she DOES have more.

    People assume that I’m good at math without knowing anything else about me, but they also assume that I’m bad at computers and technology because I’m a woman. I don’t know why, since math is usually associated with computers and technology. This white guy did something ridiculous to me two months ago, but I’m not going to go into detail because it’s too recent and current, and may identify too much about me. Anyway, that incident demonstrated that when it comes to computers & tech, I am perceived as a “woman” instead of as an “Asian”.

    When it comes to the humanities, Macon D, are Asians still considered more intelligent? Seeing how white my philosophy classes were, and how academic philosophy is equated with Western philosophy, and how the highly-regarded philosophers are all white men, I don’t think Asians are perceived as more intelligent in this context.

    Asians are perceived as more intelligent in science and math, but people think that we are incapable of doing humanities, which require knowledge of English and classical (white) literary traditions, the type of abstract and academic subjects that are considered ‘white’ even by white people.

  5. nquest2xl Says:

    Ahhh… schucks.

    Macon responded before I could ask you (Restructure) if you were thinking about the time when Macon insisted his weird assumptions about Black handshake preference were justified and more valid than my knowledge and experience with Blacks shaking hands because he has been White Man Monitoring and had witnessed hundreds of people shake hands.

    I mean, seriously… how could I ever top that?

    The fact that I could raise logical questions about how exactly Macon would know what a Black person or PoC thinks/feels in a interracial handshaking situation… the fact that I could raise logical questions as to how Macon would know what the preferred method of handshaking was for Black people or PoC… the fact that I have first hand experience with Black handshaking in a variety of settings (because every time I do it I’m “Shaking Hands While Black”)… the fact that I could reference the only comment made by a PoC (RianaWeather) regarding the existence of a handshaking preference that corroborated my point and illustrated the inapplicability of the idea of a preference far better than I did… the fact that a lot more thinking was involved on my part…

    Well, none of that ever qualified me to even comment since Macon was so well informed and formed a well-founded theory based on what he could gather from a much more intelligent method way to ascertain if/when PoC preferred to use a “non-standard” handshake in interracial handshaking situations — i.e. merely watching hundreds of people shake hands.

  6. nquest2xl Says:

    PS:

    Restructure, the portion of your post that said, “You know that the person pontificating about a subject knows little about it when, based on what he says, it is obvious… Yet, unthinkingly and without reflection, he reflexively “corrects” you when you challenge him, doing so in a patronizing fashion,” made me think you were thinking of Macon… Or maybe that was me. lol

  7. macon d Says:

    True, Restructure, people of Asian descent are definitely credited, when credited with supposedly higher intelligence, with certain types of intelligence. And that’s definitely attenuated in most cases I’ve seen by gender.

  8. Restructure! Says:

    @nquest2xl:

    LOL!

    Macon D is one manifestation of this, but the problem is huge and systemic, and it’s more upsetting when it occurs offline, in person.

    I think Macon D has this problem all over his blog, like when he replies with something like “You haven’t convinced me,” as if he is the “expert” and final arbiter on how race works, and doesn’t need to provide arguments or reasoning. The burden of proof should be on Macon D when it comes to making claims about race, but he puts the burden of proof on PoC to “convince” him that his claim is wrong.

    The handshaking post is one instance of the Macon D manifestation, but I think his blog is seeped in it, actually. I don’t think he perceives himself like this, or that he would accept this assessment, because it would mean that his beloved blog is biased all over.

    When people like Macon D and Mandy Van Deven and Brittany Shoot speak authoritatively and make grand claims like that, it reminds me of this inversely-proportional relation. (At least Van Deven and Shoot realized that they did something wrong, though.)

  9. macon d Says:

    (My “beloved blog”? Do you love your blog, Restructure?)

    Restructure, you’re mischaracterizing “me” again. When I’ve told you and Nq that I’m not convinced, that’s been after a long discussion in which we’ve each laid out claims and counterclaims. It’s my recollection of those conversations from many months ago that I did not claim a need to be convinced “without providing argument or reasoning.” I’ve also repeatedly pointed out in some of those cases that one or both of you have misread a post of mine. Nq’s rehashing of the great handshaking debate above, for instance, continues to rely on an insistence that I claimed to know how black people like to shake hands. However, as I’ve written many times, that’s not what the post claims, and it’s not what the post is about.

  10. nquest2xl Says:

    when he replies with something like “You haven’t convinced me,” as if he is the “expert” and final arbiter on how race works…

    I had forgotten about that… lol

    Of course I know this phenomenon goes well beyond Macon. I guess he’s just the most blatant example in recent memory and, for me, my offline experiences are hardly ever as involved or drawn out as the ones I have online.

  11. nquest2xl Says:

    Nq’s rehashing of the great handshaking debate above, for instance, continues to rely on an insistence that I claimed to know how black people like to shake hands.

    BULLSHIT!!!

    I’ve never insisted anything like that. What I have insisted is that you would have to know if Black people have a preference in order for you to know that they repress said preference in the interracial handshaking scenario you talked about.

    But since you used the words “providing arguments” in your post… provide evidence for your assertion that I stated that you claimed to know how Black people like to shakehands as a central part of me questioning your handshaking theory… That or show how I said something approximating that.

    You claimed my argument “relies” on the claim I made that you stated/claimed that you know how Black people like to shake hands. Prove it!

  12. macon d Says:

    I’ve never insisted anything like that.

    Compare my statement that you insist “that I claimed to know how black people like to shake hands” with your statement that what you “have insisted is that [I] would have to know if Black people have a preference in order for [me] to know that they repress said preference in the interracial handshaking scenario [I] talked about.”

    What’s the difference between you claiming that I know how black people like to shake hands and you claiming that I know if Black people have a preference? If there is a difference, it’s the breadth of a hair that, so far, I see no point in splitting.

  13. nquest2xl Says:

    Here are the two threads at SWPS where the handshaking thing was discussed:

    African American men don’t shake hands like that.
    Where are you from

    Read them over and show me how you came up with this idea (I’m calling it another one of your lies) that I said you claimed to know how Black people like to shake hands.

    That doesn’t even make sense especially given what I said when I introduced the handshaking debate as an example of you exhibiting the type of behavior Restructure’s topic focuses on. Nowhere in my first post on this thread do I make the claim that you said you knew how Black people like to shake hands.

    What I did do was question how you could know what kind of hand shake a Black person “preferred” in interracial scenarios. I’ve always found your notion absurd and the idea of a “preference” as a concept that simply did not apply.

    If anything, we can take what you said about “watching hundreds of people shake hands” as your statement for knowing… You were the one trying to justify your weird theory about Black people repressing their preferred handshake… One could interpret your emphatic statement that you didn’t just pull this theory of yours out your azz as a statement saying you know what you’re talking about which necessarily means you would have to know what Black people’s preferred handshake was, again, in order to know if they were repressing that preference in interracial handshaking scenarios.

    That aside… provide a verifiable argument/proof that I said what you claimed I said or STFU.

  14. Elton Says:

    Folks definitely misunderestimate Asian creativity, especially with words and music.

    And one would think that it’s better to underestimate than to overestimate, but in practice, it means Asians aren’t given chances that others are given to express themselves thusly.

  15. nquest2xl Says:

    What’s the difference between you claiming that I know how black people like to shake hands and you claiming that I know if Black people have a preference?

    Whatever the difference is… it is irrelevant. You claimed I made a definite statement that I did not make. Again, my first post here clearly reiterates the arguments I raised against this bs theory you pulled out your azz to build up your anti-racist cred or whatever you thought you were accomplishing by coming up with that nonsense.

    Again, if anything, you were the one who essentially claimed that you knew how Black people like to shake hands based on the observations you made while watching “hundreds of people shake hands.”

    Further, since you want to distance yourself from the idea of that you “know how black people like to shake hands” then your not only are your objections here and bs statements about being “misread” mute but so too is the very idea of yours.

    Simply, if you don’t know how Black people like to shake hands, how the hell can you know when and where they are repressing any preferences in any situation?

    You can’t.

    Thanks for showing your “common tendency”, pontificating about a subject knows little about, Whiteness.

  16. macon d Says:

    Nq @ 1:08 am, you haven’t answered my question, a question which contains, I think, an answer to yours:

    What’s the difference between you claiming [as I put it] that I know how black people like to shake hands and you claiming [as you put it] that I know if Black people have a preference?

    In other words, as I see it, there is no difference. I don’t have to read over those two old posts and threads to “show [you] how [I] came up with this idea . . . that [you] said [I] claimed to know how Black people like to shake hands.” As I read things, you just claimed in this thread that I know if Black people have a preference, which means that you just claimed here that I know how Black people like to shake hands. All of which seems to me, as I said before, like needless hair-splitting. . .

    And by the way, I’m not “lying,” to use that much-favored charge of yours. If I’m misstating your claims, it’s not intentional.

  17. nquest2xl Says:

    Proof that you are lying:

    http://stuffwhitepeoplesay.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/where-are-you-from/#comment-1089

    And, again, this whole “what is the difference” defense only goes to prove how your theory was never grounded in anything but the bs you pulled out of the dirty crack of your azz.

    Your question remains irrelevant. Neither one of the claims in your question represent “how I [Nquest] put it.” In the 1:08 am post, I said:

    What I did do was question how you could know what kind of hand shake a Black person “preferred” in interracial scenarios.

    Raising the question “how do/can you know” is different from making the statement that you know or said you know. One (the question) requires you to supply information or, in this case, reasons for how you arrived at the idea that preference repression occurs… the other requires no statement of proof on your part.

    Now, with your question answered… let’s see if you can answer the long standing questions regarding your theory.

    http://stuffwhitepeoplesay.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/where-are-you-from/

    ——————————————————–

    Those long standing questions that YOU NEVER TRIED TO ANSWER are :

    Where the fuck do you get the “repress” idea from in the first place?

    Where the hell do you get the idea that there is a “preferred” handshake for non-white people IN MIXED COMPANY that’s different from the ’standard’ handshake?

    Why there would be uncertainty? Why would a Black person, e.g., wonder which handshake s/he is supposed to use, Macon?

    Why would there be uncertainty when Black people, e.g., use “the white” handshake when they shake hands with other Black people?

  18. macon d Says:

    Whatever the difference is… it is irrelevant. You claimed I made a definite statement that I did not make.

    Okay, so now you have answered my question, sort of. Yes, the difference does seem irrelevant to me, but then, it is relevant in another way, isn’t it, for disproving what you’re still claiming–that I “claimed [you] made a definite statement that [you] did not make.” If the two statements are actually the same, then as I read things, you have made the claim that I said you made, and thus your initial claim here that I’ve acted like a “bullshit”-spouting liar is false.

    Re this statement of yours, “you were the one who essentially claimed that you knew how Black people like to shake hands based on the observations you made while watching ‘hundreds of people shake hands.'” Actually, what I still think is worth claiming, and pointing out, as I did in the original post from about a year ago, is that there is a standard American handshake that amounts to a “white” handshake, and that many non-white people practice among themselves other handshakes (which doesn’t disallow that many also practice and/or prefer the standard one).

    And, so,

    if a white and a non-white person encounter each other in a casual setting and decide to clasp hands, there may be uncertainty about which handshaking method to use–the one that’s become the standard, “white” one, or a common non-white one. When there is uncertainty about which to use, the fall-back is usually the standard handshake, that is, the method more likely to be used by the white person than by the one used by some non-white people. The non-white person often represses a preferred method of contact, and the white person feels little if any discomfort about being the enforcer of a standard.

    The post doesn’t say that all black people have some single, preferred handshake-like gesture that they all repress when greeting a white person (nor, for that matter, that all white people use the standard American method). But the post does recognize that some have other handshakes that they use among each other, and that when they meet a white person, the more common one used in moments of uncertainty about how to clasp hands is the standard, de facto “white” one.

    And no, I didn’t pull this out my azz “to build up [my] anti-racist cred or whatever.” It was an effort to spell out my own discomfort in such encounters, where I’ve felt like the privileged enforcer of a standard. And as with other posts I’ve written, a broader motive was to alert other white people to their own modes of largely unconscious, habitual embodiment and enforcement of de facto white standards.

  19. nquest2xl Says:

    BTW, Macon… Thanks for giving us real time evidence of the phenomenon… lol

  20. nquest2xl Says:

    The post doesn’t say that all black people have some single, preferred handshake-like gesture

    Which is irrelevant. The “I didn’t say ALL” is a kindergarten argument that doesn’t address a damn thing I’ve questioned.

  21. nquest2xl Says:

    But the post does recognize that some have other handshakes that they use among each other, and that when they meet a white person, the more common one used in moments of uncertainty about how to clasp hands is the standard, de facto “white” one.

    Moments of uncertainty? What moments of uncertainty?

    This is an assertion of yours (a claim that there are moments of uncertainty) that is baseless unless you have some evidence that a statistically significant amount of Black people, e.g., have reported having first this “uncertainty” and then the “preference” which would be the source of the uncertainty in this case.

    All the more reason why its important for you to answer this long standing question:

    Why [would there] be uncertainty? Why would a Black person, e.g., wonder which handshake s/he is supposed to use, Macon?

  22. macon d Says:

    To your other questions:

    Where the hell do you get the idea that there is a “preferred” handshake for non-white people IN MIXED COMPANY that’s different from the ’standard’ handshake?

    I didn’t get that idea from anywhere, since it’s not an idea that I have, nor one that I’ve expressed. I just wrote that some non-white people have a preferred one that they sometimes end up not using in “uncertain” encounters.

    Why there would be uncertainty? Why would a Black person, e.g., wonder which handshake s/he is supposed to use, Macon?

    Because he may unsure about which one the white guy is going to attempt. And there’s sometimes uncertainty on the white guy’s part too, about whether he should attempt or offer something other than the standard. In such cases, the fallback is often the “standard,” de facto white one, in which case the white guy would be the bearer and, in effect, enforcer of his own standard.

    Why would there be uncertainty when Black people, e.g., use “the white” handshake when they shake hands with other Black people?

    Huh? I’m sure there usually isn’t–maybe there never is. Where have I said there would be?

  23. macon d Says:

    BTW, Macon… Thanks for giving us real time evidence of the phenomenon… lol

    Please explain how you think I’m doing that.

  24. nquest2xl Says:

    Now the TRUTH comes out:

    “It was an effort to spell out my own discomfort in such encounters, where I’ve felt like the privileged enforcer of a standard.”

    Now explain why you made your piece about the “uncertainty” (perhaps “discomfort”) Black people/PoC feel in those scenarios?

    The whole time it was what you had to say about PoC and the feelings of discomfort, repression and/or uncertainty they (however many) felt that drove the debate. That’s unmistakable.

    It’s also unmistakable that what your “spelled out”, indeed, what your whole piece centered around was NOT your feelings but what your projected onto Black people/PoC because of your feelings. Because of that, you willfully misrepresented, indeed, concocted an idea that you knew was false or, at best, shaky because what you really was talking about was your own feelings and not those of African Americans/PoC which your post pretended to consider.

  25. nquest2xl Says:

    Huh? I’m sure there usually isn’t–maybe there never is. Where have I said there would be?

    LOL….

    “Maybe” there never is. Macon, you’re a fuckin’ comedian now. You’ve just maybe’d yourself and your bs theory to death.

    It’s dead. It’s clear your White anti-racist (White liberal, actually) “feelings of discomfort” had you trippin’ then and got you trippin’ now.

    But MAYBE the sky really is falling. LMAO!!!

    Maybe a baby cries in the middle of the night without opening his/her mouth. Maybe its a half pass a donkey’s ass and Bud Light really is less filling.

    … a comedian, I say.

  26. nquest2xl Says:

    Let me reiterate:

    Moments of uncertainty? What moments of uncertainty?

    This is an assertion of yours (a claim that there are moments of uncertainty) that is baseless unless you have some evidence that a statistically significant amount of Black people, e.g., have reported having first this “uncertainty” and then the “preference” which would be the source of the uncertainty in this case.

    Seeing none (no evidence that you’ve gathered information about feelings of uncertainty, much less “preferences” from actual PoC/African Americans)….

    STFU!!!

    (Sorry, Restructure…)

  27. macon d Says:

    Now explain why you made your piece about the “uncertainty” (perhaps “discomfort”) Black people/PoC feel in those scenarios?

    Nquest, I did not make my piece about Black/PoC uncertainty or discomfort in such scenarios, as if the “whole piece centered around” that. Read the piece again–why do you say that’s what “the whole piece centered around”?

  28. macon d Says:

    Huh? I’m sure there usually isn’t–maybe there never is. Where have I said there would be?

    LOL….

    “Maybe” there never is. Macon, you’re a fuckin’ comedian now.

    Nquest, again, where have I said there would be? Why are you avoiding that question?

    I said “maybe there never is,” because I have no idea whether there ever is or not. Why do you think that’s funny?

  29. nquest2xl Says:

    Note: The issue now and always was this closing statement of yours:

    The non-white person often represses a preferred method of contact, and the white person feels little if any discomfort about being the enforcer of a standard.

    There were no MAYBE’s in there. That was a statement of yours that suggested definite knowledge not only that the repression occurs (again, no maybe’s) but that it occurs, occurs OFTEN…. *AND*…. “the non-white person”, again, from your definite knowledge represses a preferred method in the process which, by definition, has to be different from the standard “white” handshake for the repression to occur.

    Beyond that, again, you made PoC and what you thought of their feelings/reactions central to your point. You pretended that you were concerned about what PoC felt when, really, what you were trying to do is “spell out your own discomfort in such encounters” which simply can’t serve as a substitute or a gauge, in forward or reverse, for what PoC feel.

  30. macon d Says:

    (Oops, only the first part of that should be in bold print. A preview function here would be nice.)

    Moments of uncertainty? What moments of uncertainty?

    This is an assertion of yours (a claim that there are moments of uncertainty) that is baseless unless you have some evidence that a statistically significant amount of Black people, e.g., have reported having first this “uncertainty” and then the “preference” which would be the source of the uncertainty in this case.

    I’ve SEEN such uncertainty, on either or both sides of the kind of encounter described in the post. Why does it have to be a “statistically significant amount” of people having reported that? And if you want stats, then why do you only want them on black people in such encounters, and not on white people? And instead of insisting on stats, why not read the post instead as one person’s observed, surmised, reported experience?

  31. nquest2xl Says:

    Macon, the whole piece is centered around PoC, because nowhere in the piece did you actually “spell out your own discomfort in such encounters.” Instead of doing that, you treated it was another one of your White liberal… err… anti-racist lectures saying little if anything about how the topic was personally relevant to you and your feelings.

  32. macon d Says:

    Wow, all this about one sentence?!

    Okay, when you put it that way, in this context, I agree that in that sentence, “often” is indeed presumptuous of me, minus any statistical evidence. I think you’re right! About this, anyway. I’ll think about how to rewrite it. Thank you for pointing this out.

    You pretended that you were concerned about what PoC felt when, really, what you were trying to do is “spell out your own discomfort in such encounters” which simply can’t serve as a substitute or a gauge, in forward or reverse, for what PoC feel.

    Right, well, to some extent right–my concern about what PoC feel is not a pretense. Nor are my observations of occasional uncertainty on both sides of those interracial greetings. I think I would’ve written this post differently had I written it later (it’s the 11th of 250 posts), as a more speculative description of my own observations in such encounters (and less as a “lecture”). Something about “uncertainty,” and/or “apparent uncertainty,” instead of presumed repression.

  33. nquest2xl Says:

    Also, your piece is centered on PoC because you didn’t say:

    The white person often [feels discomfort or uncertainty] regarding the preferred method of contact…

    Simple English. You made PoC the subject of your piece by way of the closing sentence which housed the main idea or was essentially the purpose of your whole entire piece.

    Why does it have to be a “statistically significant amount” of people having reported that?

    So we can tell that you’ve SEEN everthying you’ve claim to have SEEN vs. you projecting your White liberal feelings of discomfort and assuming handshakes that missed or had some kind of mis-timing or communication did so because of some nonsense that exists ONLY IN YOUR MIND.

    why do you only want them on black people in such encounters

    You made Black people/PoC the subjects. It is your claims and, more specifically, your self-projected theories or interpretations about their feelings AND what they mean that’s at issue here.

    And instead of insisting on stats…

    I’m not insisting on stats. I’m insisting on you providing ample and solid proof for you assertions.

    So, let’s hear you tell us about how many PoC you’ve heard from or read about who reported BOTH feeling “uncertain” about WHICH handshake to use in interracial handshaking situations (as opposed to timing, firmness, etc.) AND feeling “repressed” because, instead of using the “standard” handshake, they PREFERRED to shake hands in some other common (to them) or spontaneous manner — i.e. what they really wanted/preferred to do was give the White some dap or something other than the “standard” handshake you identified as the default…

  34. nquest2xl Says:

    my concern about what PoC feel is not a pretense.

    Can’t prove that by the number of times you’ve made assertions about what PoC feel that aren’t founded in what PoC say they feel AND why they feel what they do AND what they think about those feelings and the circumstances that cause them.

    Re: rewriting the piece…. Unless you’re going to be forthcoming and openly talk about your own personal feelings of discomfort that you’ve mentioned here, what’s the use?

  35. jwbe Says:

    Macon, your reaction now to your old thread shows that there is no progress in your way of thinking.

  36. jwbe Says:

    It was an effort to spell out my own discomfort in such encounters, where I’ve felt like the privileged enforcer of a standard. And as with other posts I’ve written, a broader motive was to alert other white people to their own modes of largely unconscious, habitual embodiment and enforcement of de facto white standards.

    while the handshake may be “white” because it’s a European tradition, there is nothing wrong in having standards within a nation how to communicate with each other. You could start a thread “every time a white opens his mouth he enforces his/her white standard on all others”. Because of your language. English isn’t the native language of America, nothing European is truly American, but white standard.
    Your handshake-post was probably about you, lol.

  37. Restructure! Says:

    Macon D,

    I would like to see the empirical study about non-white handshaking preferences in this case, because (1) I don’t repress a preferred handshaking style when I meet a white person; and (2) I’ve never heard other PoC express this opinion before. It’s possible that this PoC feeling of being “repressed” is common but that I have personally not encountered this in my circle, but then the burden of proof would be on you to provide evidence beyond your personal impressions as a white person.

    Another reason is that (3) I do feel that white people often get confused and sometimes try to greet me with “Asian” greetings because they think that I’m a foreigner and of a different culture. I feel that you are projecting this white confusion and uncertainty that white people have on to PoC. That is, you are empathizing incorrectly by assuming that white uncertainty in interracial greetings is universal uncertainty.

    It’s easy for me to imagine a white person meeting a black person for the first time and trying to give daps, while the black person tries for the standard handshake. At that point, there would be confusion, because the white person acted like a fool, a racist fool. However, the reverse situation would be extremely rare, since … it just doesn’t make for a PoC acculturated into North American culture to greet white strangers with some racialized and self-othering gesture.

    In other words, typically, PoC would greet white people with the standard handshake with no hesitation or uncertainty, but white people would feel uncertain because they don’t know how to act in front of non-white people. A white person may project his uncertainty on to PoC, believing that the uncertainty is for both whites and non-whites, thereby believing again that his white feelings are universal.

    I feel uncomfortable when a white stranger greets me in a racialized and othering manner, but it would be because I think that the white person is acting racist, not because I don’t know which handshake to use. I’ve had many experiences of white strangers I meet for the first time incorrectly greeting me in some stereotypical “Asian” way, but I myself do not meet white people for the first time giving Japanese bows or saying “ni hao”. That’s just absurd.

    Unfortunately, your shake hands our way post justifies and enforces this racist and othering white behaviour. The other problems include the “lecture” style, which I’m surprised you see now, speaking authoritatively about what non-white people think, and calling the standard handshake a “white” handshake when most PoC in North America–even antiracist PoC–don’t think of it that way.

    The standard handshake is not “white”. Greeting me with a stereotypical “Asian” greeting, however, is white. So is being uncertain about whether to greet me in an “Asian” way; this is also white.

  38. Restructure! Says:

    Macon D,

    Okay, so now you have answered my question, sort of. Yes, the difference does seem irrelevant to me, but then, it is relevant in another way, isn’t it, for disproving what you’re still claiming–that I “claimed [you] made a definite statement that [you] did not make.” If the two statements are actually the same, then as I read things, you have made the claim that I said you made, and thus your initial claim here that I’ve acted like a “bullshit”-spouting liar is false.

    The two statements have different connotations, even if they are “equivalent” in some abstracted way. It’s best to respond to the exact wording of somebody’s claim, instead of translating it into your own version, which could become a straw man. You may miss a subtlety of what is being said.

  39. Nquest Says:

    It happened again. Recent mention of Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, got me to reading and look at what I found:

    http://www.racialicious.com/2008/03/27/the-implications-of-note-to-white-people/

    I couldn’t help but think the same thing I thought (and posted here) in my initial reaction to your commentary, Restructure.

  40. Restructure! Says:

    @Nquest:

    Wow. Thanks, Nquest. Those criticisms could apply to Macon D’s refuse to listen to black anger as well, in which he wrote:

    I think that if Obama was in church on that particular day, he and the other people there would’ve understood that Wright wasn’t actually asking God to damn America. Instead, one of a black reverend’s functions in such moments, in many black churches, where people aren’t so pent up and repressed that they’ve pretty much separated their emotional life from their religious life (if they have a religious life)–in those kinds of moments, what Wright may have been doing was helping his congregation express some of its anger. (Or maybe not–this is conjecture on my part.)

    And as I understand it, yes, black people still do have a lot to feel angry about, and no, many of them won’t just bury or try to forget that anger like white people wish they would. Sometimes they let it out, which is probably healthy, and sometimes when they do so, they say things they wouldn’t say at other times.

    White people often forgive their own friends or family members for saying things in anger that they wouldn’t say otherwise. Why can’t they do the same for black people?

    (The “(Or maybe not–this is conjecture on my part.)” is a new addition, isn’t it?)

  41. Eclectic Says:

    Intuitively, I think the main idea of the quoted post is correct. However, I’m curious what sort of empirical evidence there is that white men’s behavior is racially motivated. Is there evidence that they respond to challenges from other white men differently than when the challenge comes from a PoC?

    We might see that it’s just the habit of these men to treat any and all who challenge them as people who don’t know, regardless of race.

    This wouldn’t change the fact, however, that their actions are still an artifact of a culture that has raised them to believe they are superior.

  42. Restructure! Says:

    I get the idea that it is particular to white men, because white women, men of colour, and women of colour rarely act that way.

  43. Restructure! Says:

    Scratch that. Enough men of colour have acted that way towards me that I cannot say that it is rare. However, I am a woman of colour. There was also an incident with a white woman.

    I’m pretty sure that white men act like this towards other white men, but the difference is that white women, men of colour, and women of colour usually have insecurities about their competence when it comes to a subject that they don’t know much about.

    Between a man of colour and a woman of colour, gender stereotypes about relative competence come into play. Between a white woman and a woman of colour, race stereotypes about relative competence come into play. Between a white man and a woman of colour, it could be race, gender, or both.

  44. Nathan Says:

    “I’m pretty sure that white men act like this towards other white men”

    From my experiences, yeah, this is not uncommon.

    We (I’ve been guilty of this myself when I’m not taking care to check myself) sometimes get more wrapped up in the ‘competition’ aspect of it, than the actual discussion at hand.

    Which is, of course, really stupid.

  45. thewhatifgirl Says:

    I didn’t read the whole exchange between Macon and nquest but I felt like I needed to point out to Macon that he made it about himself when it’s not really about him at all (classic white privilege scenario). It seems pretty obvious to me, another white person, that Macon and I can’t be experts on blackness (or whiteness, for that matter, since there is so much that we don’t see because of our privilege) and shouldn’t be challenging a black person on their experiences of being black. But if you want to talk to me about this any more, Macon, you can email me at tryptaminebutterfly at hotmail dot com; there’s been enough talking about you on this thread and I’m hesitant to even post this because of it.

    Back to the topic at hand, I have always observed this but never quite been able to put my finger on what it is. Do you mind if I link here from my own blog as a way of directing people to an explanation?

  46. Restructure! Says:

    thewhatifgirl,

    I don’t mind linking at all. Thanks!

  47. Men overestimate their intelligence in all 12 countries, research finds « Restructure! Says:

    […] This is why white males are so confident in themselves. by Restructure! Posted in Science News. Tags: Australia, Austria, bias, Brazil, confidence, cross-cultural, culture, estimation, France, gender, intelligence, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, male, men, patriarchy, perception, psychology, sexism, South Africa, Spain, subjectivity, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, women. No Comments » […]

  48. deborah Says:

    Wow, this was the lamest conversation I ever had the misfortune of skimming through. All three of you retards are complete idiots.

    And restructure, you’ve never met a confident non-white person before? Get out of your parents basement already.

  49. urbia Says:

    Speaking from personal experience, the assumption that Asians are really intelligent can backfire in the context of a criminal investigation.

    If racist white members of law enforcement or secret service become overly paranoid and over-extend themselves on an imagined lead, then trip over themselves, they might blame their own fault on the target of their investigation.

    They’ll ask, “Did she plan it all (and anticipate our mistakes)?” or “This MUST have been a hoax!” In a particularly messy international event in which many people get into trouble, there will be an attempt to manufacture scapegoats. In such a situation, an Asian person’s intelligence can be used against her.

    At the same time, that person might actually be intelligent enough to read what she’s being accused of — not because of actual guilt, but simply out of intuition. Then there’s a pressure to play dumb, which can be read as being deceptive. It’s a catch-22 situation, though: you can admit you know what they’re thinking, which can be conveniently twisted into ‘evidence,’ or you can act like you have absolutely no idea what they’re getting at… which contrasts with the Asians-are-smart thing. This may ironically lead to more suspicion. So it’s like a never-ending cycle.

    I’ve found this aspect of the Model Minority myth kind of dangerous. It implies that Asian-Americans can be ‘used’ for commercial purposes due to their intelligence, but they can’t be trusted.

  50. People perceive upper-middle class white men to be smarter than they are. « Restructure! Says:

    […] This is why white males are so confident in themselves. by Restructure! […]


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