Wave! Wave like your life depended on it!

Because it just might.

Police in California detained four women on potential felony charges after a white woman called 911 because the woman of color didn’t return her wave.

Kells Fyffe-Marshall explained how the four women, three of whom are black, were surrounded by 7 cop cars during the ordeal and were told that a helicopter was even tracking the women.

Wow. Detained on potential felony charges because they rented an AirBnB while black.

So, when are these scaredy-cat racist white people going to get surrounded by cops for calling in a false accusation? Or maybe even better, when will the police learn restraint?


  1. embraceyourinnercrone says

    One wonders what ACTUAL crimes were being ignored while these 7 officers and a helicopter were investigating 4 women for renting an AirBnB while Black….

    OT but unfortunately not at all OT: This happened in March but only went viral very recently, this man had a cop pull a GUN on him for what the cop mistaken thought was shoplifting a pack of Mentos(retail value $1.19), let that sink in for a minute:


  2. davidnangle says

    embraceyourinnercrone, treason and money laundering come to mind. Embezzlement… white guy crimes.

    You have to wonder if there’s enough humanity left in the police forces for them to even shake their heads at the travesty of things like this. These guys grew up watching movies about individual cops taking on the mafia… and they daily gang up and pull weapons on clearly unarmed, clearly law-abiding people. Just how did they lose every last trace of shame and self-worth?

  3. lakitha tolbert says

    #4: Marcus
    Black woman here! That just made me ugly-laugh. Classic understatement!

  4. Doc Bill says

    Right, because burglars often use luggage to steal flat-screen TV’s!

  5. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Cops never fail to amaze me.

  6. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @embraceyourinnercrone, #1:

    I saw that.

    What’s even more interesting is that the department refuses to say what the name of the officer is, and insists that it doesn’t know if the actions were justified or not because it hasn’t completed its investigation…

    …but there’s no indication that I can find that either the cashier or the victim have been spoken to recently. I assume that they were both interviewed soon after. But honestly, what more do you need than the tape? What could the two of them add?

    So why is the investigation dragging on for weeks? Can you say accountability avoidance?

  7. Saad says

    Wait, are we SURE she’s racist??? Do we have the facts? What REALLY happened because I’m a skeptic. That article is a logical fallacy! What if she was just being a good citizen and looking out for suspicious looking non-white…ummm.. I mean people?

  8. Saad says

    I think we should just step back and make sure we don’t destroy a good white woman’s reputation based on baseless accusations that haven’t been laboratory tested by Sam Harris yet.

  9. billyjoe says

    Marcus Ranum & Iakitha tolbert.

    Both of you are as bad as the people you criticise.

    How would either of you react to:
    “There is something wrong with black people”
    “White woman here! That just made me ugly-laugh. Classic understatement”

    Racism is racism no matter who wears the shoes.

  10. ck, the Irate Lump says

    billyjoe wrote:

    Both of you are as bad as the people you criticise.

    Really? A flippant remark is just as bad as getting cops to harass and arrest a bunch of law abiding people who made the mistake of AirBnBing while black? What utter nonsense.

  11. billyjoe says


    Flippant reamarks?
    Okay then, let me make a couple of flippant remarks:

    “There is something wrong with black people”
    “White woman here! That just made me ugly-laugh. Classic understatement”

    Still think they’re flippant.

    (BTW, I was criticising them for generalising about white people just as some white people generalise about black people)

  12. ck, the Irate Lump says

    billyjoe wrote:

    Still think they’re flippant.

    Yeah, still flippant. Still not as bad as being harassed by police and arrested for bogus reasons.

    Also, you don’t seem to understand that what Marcus and lakitha tolbert aren’t equivalent to what you said in the least. Black people already have to deal with presumed criminality that your proposed reversal only reinforces. There is a TV new network practically dedicated to the idea that There is something wrong with black people in order to stir up fears among white conservatives. There is no evidence that Marcus’s or lakitha’s flippant comment is suddenly going to lead to racial profiling against white people. So, even ignoring the original incident and instead pretending your imaginary scenario happened instead, this isn’t even just as bad.

    You’re practically the poster child for white fragility.

  13. bachfiend says

    It says something about social interactions in modern society.

    I don’t know most of my neighbours, except by sight maybe. The one exception is the man (but not his wife or two children living next door) because they’re my tenants in the duplex I own, and he occasionally mentions problems to me, which I refer to the agent to deal with.

    The neighbours seem not to have been informed that the owners were going away, and that the house was going to be let short term. The neighbours were probably doing the right thing in keeping an eye out for possible crimes in the street. Why burglars wouldn’t also wave to allay suspicion is beyond me too.

  14. chigau (違う) says

    Have you given any thought to how long you will last here after PZ is done with this school term?
    Do you have somewhere else to go?

  15. says


    The neighbours were probably doing the right thing in keeping an eye out for possible crimes in the street.

    Handling luggage while black is not a fucking crime. The white woman who called has no fucking excuse whatsoever, except for the reality: she’s a fucking bigot who likes exercising her white privilege.

  16. billyjoe says

    Hey, chigau, if PZ wants to ban me that is up to him.

    I imagine he is able to tolerate some minor disagreement but, if not, so be it. He can do what he likes with his blog. I’m happy to leave if that’s what he wants. The blogosphere is a big place, and I’m sure I will find a home somewhere. But maybe leave to up to him, hey, how about that?

    Besides, what are you going to do when I’m gone and you’re left with no one to act as a foil for your sad attempts at comedy. :)

  17. billyjoe says


    Oh, Marcus Ranum is a white guy, hey?

    Well then, there must be “something wrong” with him!
    And Iakitha tolbert was “ugly-laughing” at him…with “classic understatement”!

  18. billyjoe says


    I wasn’t talking about “white fragility”.
    I was talking about contributing to driving a wedge between back people and white people as if that will help either.
    But I’m not surprised he got no push back from the regulars here.

  19. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @billyjoe, #14:

    I don’t agree with the idea that the contextualized remarks about white people are as bad as your hypothetical de-contextualized remarks about Black people, regardless of how similarly worded they are.

    But lets say for arguments sake that I agree with you that these remarks are bad, very, very bad.

    ck asked if these remarks are:

    just as bad as getting cops to harass and arrest a bunch of law abiding people who made the mistake of AirBnBing while black?

    You ignored the substance of the question to focus on the characterization as flippant. Now that we’re setting aside that characterization for a moment, can you please tell us whether you think the remarks made in comments #4 & #5 on this thread are as bad as

    getting cops to harass and arrest a bunch of law abiding people who made the mistake of AirBnBing while black

    because the rest of us think you’re derailing a conversation about actual abuse of power to argue over how best to characterize a pair of internet comments.

  20. Porivil Sorrens says

    Once again white people indicate how willing they are to derail a conversation about actual racism in action because someone had the temerity to make fun of them.

    Call me when jokes at the expense of white people have the power of centuries of violent oppression behind them and maybe I’ll give a shit.

  21. says

    White is just a social dominance construct.

    My Irish ancestors weren’t considered white at one time. Similar for Italians. Before that it was dominance games based on your nation, city-state. I can see having some identification with the actual cultures you came from.

    But just white? Fuck white people.

  22. Tethys says

    Porivil Sorrens

    Once again white people indicate how willing they are to…

    Don’t blame everyone for billyjoe. He is the only idjit who thinks being called white is a terrible injustice, and there is no limit to the threads he will derail with stupidity and pearl clutching. In this instance he is claiming that being called white is just as bad as a police force descending on and terrorizing people who were merely going about their lives. Nobody is agreeing with the fool.

  23. Porivil Sorrens says

    I didn’t actually say “all white people”, so rest assured, I’m not blaming “everyone” for billyjoe. He is merely demonstrating a pattern that a non-negligible amount of white people take part in.

    I’m not really interested in splitting hairs to add a little “Note: not all white people are racist garbage” footnote. Consider it implied.

  24. indianajones says

    Infrequent commenter but frequent lurker also wants to add his voice to the ‘fuck off billyjoe’ chorus.

  25. says

    Seriously! What have I got to do to get those people that actually think the label “white” actually describes something of value about people to stop acting like I’m in the same group as them?
    I’m a British isles and Poland/Sweden mutt, and that doesn’t even hold much value to me beyond abstracts.

    It’s fucking annoying. At least it tends to blow up a few minds to see a “white person” with no respect for the label.

  26. Porivil Sorrens says

    I would argue that it does describe something of value, insofar as it describes the fact that people with certain combinations of phenotypes and nationalities (ie “white people”) are on average granted social privilege in certain contexts.

  27. jefrir says

    Billyjoe, it’s almost like there are differences in the social positions of black and white people that change the meaning and contexts of those statements.
    And if you get banned, it won’t be for “disagreeing” with PZ – it’ll be for being really fucking boring.

  28. says

    @Porivil Sorrens
    That’s the only kind of value I’ve seen. Though the way I’ve thought about it is the presance of racists (white supremacists here) necessitates a value to the concept of white since it’s required to deal with racism. The privilege angle matters too.

    Annoying. Relatedly annoying is the strategic avoiding of race by said supremacists when it’s needed to analyze racism.

  29. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe, #12

    Sure, yeah- divorced of all context the statements “there’s something wrong with white people” and “there’s something wrong with black people” seem to be equivalent. In a total vacuum, the statements are both equal and equally negative. Indeed, in a vacuum racism against white people in the United States might even seem like a real problem.

    But, given that you seem to be able to draw enough breath to be able to type a whole host of inane comments like your #12, I don’t think we’re in a vacuum.

  30. chigau (違う) says

    billyjoe #20
    …your sad attempts at comedy. :)
    what the fuck are you on about?

  31. Tethys says


    I didn’t actually say “all white people”, so rest assured, I’m not blaming “everyone” for billyjoe.

    I didn’t say anything about your phrasing, or about all white people’s honor. To clarify, by everyone I meant the people who comment here, none of whom were having any issues with being called white, or mocking the casual racism of suburban white ladies. That particular bit of fragile racist nonsense belongs solely to the chewtoy, billyjoe.

  32. methuseus says

    Just to add on the dogpile on billyjoe:

    I am a white man, and yes, there is something wrong with me. I don’t do enough to overcome my privilege. I am sometimes selfish. I could go on, but I won’t. Yes, I can say white people suck while being a white person. Yes, I also mean that I sometimes suck.

    As for this specific situation, I’m sure I would have noticed a new person at a neighbor’s house. But if I wanted to see if there was an issue, I would go talk to the person myself. Contrary to many (white) people’s belief, if someone is robbing a house, even if they have a gun, they aren’t going to use it unless you give them a reason to. And, no, I wouldn’t pull a gun on them, even if I owned one. I would calmly call 911 as I walked away. But then again I’d need a hell of a lot more reason than just that they “looked suspicious”. Hell they were leaving after having been there for two nights! The neighbor wasn’t very observant if it took her presumably a minimum of 40 hours to call police.

  33. Derek Vandivere says

    What I’d like to understand is whether these types of incidents (essentially, ing while black where x = any general activity in public) are increasing, if they’re more publicized because of the Internet / social media effect, or if I’m just paying more attention.

  34. F.O. says

    @Derek Vandivere #37: My understanding is that this stuff is coming to light thanks to the widespread availability of camera phones. I wouldn’t have believed myself many of the outrageous things that have happened, but the video evidence posted on social media has made them impossible to ignore.
    Possibly, this also had a positive feedback effect, in that people are now more willing to believe and therefore more victims are willing to speak out.

  35. indianajones says

    @37 and 38 For instance, Rodney King was not the first to have the shit kicked out of him by cops racistly.

  36. F.O. says


    Racism is racism no matter who wears the shoes.

    White male here, disagreeing with you.
    The problem is that racism affects different groups in different ways.
    Being white, I belong to the group in power. I have a whole culture and society that supports me, racism can barely affect me.
    But a group of people who were slaves just a few generations ago, whose humanity was and is denied every day of their lives is far, far more vulnerable.

    Further, when people say “white people are bad” I don’t feel too fussed. Why?
    1) because I don’t feel threatened. My skin color is in power.
    2) because it’s true.

    Once I understood privilege and how it can affect people around me, I started to see my past interactions in a very different light.
    I realized I had hurt many.
    I do feel guilty for that.
    I realized that our culture and society gave me advantages to the detriment of others.
    This kind of tainted my achievements, but I feel more angry than guilty.
    However, I don’t feel guilty for being white.
    I never felt attacked for being white.
    For my actions? Yes.
    For being oblivious? Yes.
    For the color of my skin, for the accident of my birth?

  37. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Derek Vandivere, #37

    What I’d like to understand is whether these types of incidents (essentially, ing while black where x = any general activity in public) are increasing, if they’re more publicized because of the Internet / social media effect, or if I’m just paying more attention.

    Yeah, that’s a hard question to answer. I think there’s an emboldening effect that Trump both rode and encouraged, but that’s only a guess, and even if I had to guess a quantity, I still wouldn’t guess that the percent increase is large. I’d think it was pretty small, but rather that people are feeling the need to fight back, and so encouragement to publicize these events may have increased much more than the actual events.

    But again, hard to know. While I’d love the answer to that question myself, and the question itself certainly *feels* important, I think our focus should be on how to end the racism we can see rather than how much racism there is to end. No amount of racism is okay, so as long as we’re aware of any we have work to do.

  38. zenlike says

    As a white person, I hate it when white persons like billyjoe show up to give credence to the validity of the claim “There’s something wrong with white people.”

    Of course, as a white person, that is the only thing I can complain about, which is very minor to the complains black people can make, eg the occurrence of incidents like in the post and the culture that enables this.

  39. Derek Vandivere says

    #41 / Crip:
    Yeah, I suspect that we can be optimistic about the overall trend, but have to expect the occasional outbreak. I doubt we can ever fully get rid of racism – I think it’s an unfortunate byproduct of how human brains work (is spandrel the right word for that?). But that of course doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

  40. says

    Both of you are as bad as the people you criticise.

    I left the /snark tag off because of my white privilege. Sorry if that confused you.

    There’s a lot of scientized racism out there, trying to argue that some people are less intelligent or more criminal because of their race. My snark was a not very funny parody. Because white people are in power, nobody actually asks “what is wrong with white cops? Why are they disproportionately violent?” – that’s how racism works, and if you flip it around it becomes obvious.

  41. imback says

    @Derek #43,
    Indeed, fully getting rid of racism is a monumental task. However, I don’t think racism is inevitable. Racism is nurtured. Thwarting the nurture of racism is a big deal but should not require biological intervention or some such. As they sang, You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.

  42. Derek Vandivere says

    To put it more precisely, we can get rid of racist policies and structures in society, but racism (or more generically bigotry) is a pretty much inevitable outcome of the pattern matching / stereotyping that your brain does so well. I guess I’m saying that the solution is a process, not a goal, if you see what I mean.

  43. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Sigh! Saying there is something wrong with someone is not necessarily an insult. It could be a diagnosis. It could be an expression of concern. It could be a warning. Maybe if one realizes that something may be wrong, one can act.

    What is wrong with white people–particularly, white men–is privilege. Lacking the frightening experiences of women and minorities makes it difficult to empathize with their fear. What they can do about that is talk to people with different experiences and actually listen, not automatically gainsaying their feelings. Criticism is an opportunity to grow. Why do you insist on always viewing it as a personal affront?

  44. jrkrideau says

    @ 43 Derek Vandivere I doubt we can ever fully get rid of racism – I think it’s an unfortunate byproduct of how human brains work

    I am not so sure about that. I suspect it is more of a learned behaviour. As opposed to xenophobia , I suspect a great deal of the virulent racism we see, especially in many parts of the Americas, is a legacy of cognitive dissonance from the time of the African slave trade. One is only justified in mistreating black slaves if they are inferior or sub-human. We are mistreating black slaves, therefore they are inferior.

    Gary Corby, an Australian writer of mysteries set in the ancient world, who does meticulous research on the times says:

    Neither the Greeks nor, as far as I’m aware, any of the ancient people had anything like racism as we know it today, which didn’t stop neighbours killing each other from time to time, but they never did it based on colour of skin. … In fact of all the other peoples of the word, the Greeks had an especial respect for the Egyptians, in cause of their ancient culture.


    The ancient Mediterranean World seemed to be equal opportunity slavers. As long as you were not a member of the specific in-group, you were potential slave material.

    Slaves in ancient Rome could be manumitted and, once free, enjoyed most of the rights and privileges of Roman citizenship. The second or third generation would be full citizens and and could vote and hold public office, I believe.

    On a slightly reversed approach see https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/06/mary-beard-misogynistic-race-row-bbc-cartoon-us-academic-claimed/ for ethnic diversity in Roman Britain.

  45. jrkrideau says

    @ 48 Kome
    Who the hell waves at strangers?
    Me? Well, when out on the road on the bike, I usually wave at oncoming cyclists. I don’t usually lean out the window and wave at passing strangers.

  46. jrkrideau says

    @ 25 Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

    My Irish ancestors weren’t considered white at one time.

    This is a USA thing I assume? Irish Catholics being badly discriminated against, yes, but officially non–white? It sounds like legend rather than fact.

    However, I believe that Japanese were “white” in aparthied South Africa. (The economy, you know.)

  47. embraceyourinnercrone says

    @Crip Dyke – Sorry, late in replying to you. Honestly I think the Buena Park police were hoping the incident would just fade away but after the original story from the Orange County Register, and the video got some attention from the national press (after the Starbucks fiasco) the incident grew “legs”. There is also the fact that the man, Jose Arreola plans to file suit against the Buena Park police department for improper training of their officer (which is a very good point),

    Looking at the photos from the Orange County Register story, one wonders if the officer would have had the same “quick draw” over reaction if Mr Arreola’s (blonde) wife had been the one to go up to the counter for the Mentos….

  48. Derek Vandivere says

    #48 / Kome:

    Plus one for waving at strangers. Pretty common in more rural areas (although this wasn’t a rural area).

  49. says


    Who the hell waves at strangers?

    Depends on where you live, yeah? Here in nDakota, waving is a thing, and when you live rural, it’s a thing you do – wave to everyone you see, and that includes driving – wave to other drivers as you pass by each other, wave to farmers out working the fields, and so on.

    In other places, waving to someone would be a damn strange thing to do. *shrug*

  50. says

    @jrkrideau 51
    Yes it’s an American thing. But the general patterns are applicable to many places as bigots and xenophobes grab into whatever they can to enable social dominance.

    On paper they were considered white, and that matters (I don’t want to bump into conflating the discrimination against people with dark skin with the discrimination the Irish once faced, particularly because of attempts to deemphasize modern racism with past anti-Irish bigotry). The nature of the discrimination at the time had anti-Catholic elements AND ways of lumping together anti-black and anti-irish xenophobia.

    In those days, the Irish immigrants had much in common with African-Americans; they might be nicknamed “Negroes turned inside out” while African-Americans would be “smoked Irish”. A quip, attributed to an African-American, went something like this: “My master is a great tyrant, he treats me like a common Irishman.” In the census of 1850, the term “mulatto” appears for the first time, due primarily to inter-marriage between Irish and African-Americans.
    I’ve seen references to beliefs that the Irish were considered an evolutionary step between black Africans and “white people” but I’m still chasing that source down.

  51. Usernames! 🦑 says

    Such incidents will continue as long as racists feel comfortable being violently racist (i.e., calling the cops because black people are black).

    If the “white woman” were named and rightly exposed to ridicule (NOT death/rape/violence threats), she might think twice about calling the cops in the future. It might also serve as an example to others.

    The cops who unnecessarily escalated need to be severely reprimanded. There is no call for multiple officers showing up initially. Send in one car to check it out (by, I dunno, doing actual investigative police work), and if the situation warrants it–if the person is a 5-person gang all armed with AR15s and skimasks–then call for backup.

  52. logicalcat says

    Lol @ “racism is racism no matter who wears the shoes.”

    The most likely worst case scenario for racism against my white ass is that some black person hurts my feelings.

    The most likely worst case scenario for black people is that someone kills them.

    But you know, its the same of course.

  53. says

    Here’s a source with contemporary images that likened the Irish to apes in a similar way that has been and is still done to black people.
    It’s still not a bigoted placement of the Irish as distinctly non-white, but then the point is that the label of “white” has been reserved for the group in power in the US.

    I’m still looking for that source out of curiosity and a desire to be able to back it up, but at this point it’s pretty believable the elements were in place in that society for such a claim to be made and accepted by one’s bigoted peers.

  54. Porivil Sorrens says

    I doubt you’re going to find too many sources that literally say “Irish people are not white”, but you will find a significant amount of contemporary works that depict Irish people as being part of the ~Dangerous foreign hordes~ alongside stylized chinese, mexican, and black people.

    Whether or not they were literally called “white” seems secondary to the fact that they were treated pretty fucking bad at the time, and that’s enough for me to discount them from being called “white” in reference to that time period.

  55. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Derek Vandivere, #41 & #46:

    I’m largely with you, though I make the distinction between racism</b and racial prejudice</b.

    I once had a conversation with another person here (might have been Giliell?) about my use of the word sexual harassment. I had expressed reservation about using the term for something that only happens once. The question raised (and a very good question at that) was whether this endorses a sense of entitlement born of knowing that the first sin is always forgiven. I think the metaphor used was people thinking that it was reasonable to “grope one tit” for free. And indeed this attitude is a huge problem. Science magazine recently published a big article about a man who was a serial assaulter of women, but with several of his victims, he assaulted them once, got a firm, vocal “no”, and then did not assault them again. Is that behavior okay? Of course not. It is assault.

    But we also need language to describe how repeated small assaults, or even simply ongoing hostility and repeated denigration, has a non-linear effect: it easily destroys the careers of its victims, damages relationships with victims’ spouses or lovers, and much, much more. The language we’ve chosen for that is sexual harassment. So if someone engages in a single assault, I call it assault rather than harassment.

    In a parallel way, there is such a thing as racial prejudice (a quality of individuals who think ill of someone else based on perceived racial categorizations whether or not those racial categorizations map to the categories perceived by any other person in the world) and there is racism (a quality of people and societies who participate in a widespread pattern that disadvantages and subjugates entire populations based on perceived racial categorizations that are given official or quasi-official status).

    You are probably right that what psychologists call heuristics are a function of the brain too deep rooted to end (and probably undesirable to eradicate completely). It’s also probably true that as long as human brains operate using heuristics someone, somewhere, in any world of one billion people or more, is going to react reflexively to another person’s appearance every single minute of every single day.

    This does not mean that racism is inevitable, even in a small way. Racial prejudice in the largest, vaguest possible sense is almost certainly here forever, but even that can be drastically limited when we reach a point where we can teach a new generation of children about society without needing to reference race.

    But set aside racial prejudice and speak of actual racism: that is not inevitable. And it’s not just the millions killed*1 by the Atlantic slave trade that are preventable. The 201 murders and people injured by a military ambush of civilians at Wounded Knee were not inevitable. On August 10th, 1846, the US Congress appropriated $13,455.32 to repay Georgia for the money it used to induce certain Indians to attack certain other Indians in the name of white safety from the terrible savage. That wasn’t inevitable.

    It’s important to understand just how vast was the genocide of the peoples indigenous to what has been renamed (in part) the United States and (more generally) North and South America. But it’s also important to understand how small, how preventable the actions of racism really are. Georgia then was not much bigger than the entire area of greater metropolitan … Spokane, Washington. It’s white population was less than that. And remember that only white men were voting, so that the size of the voting population of Georgia in 1946 was considerably LESS than that of Spokane today. And while normal inflationary measures don’t easily represent to us in 2018 what $13,455 really meant to individuals in Washington, D.C. or Atlanta in 1846, this was not a large amount of money. The budget for the Secretary of Indian Affairs – not the department, just the budget of the Secretary’s office, presumably for office space, salaries for office assistants, basic office supplies, etc.) – was $19,400. At most, today, we’re talking about Spokane spending a million bucks on a “Kill the Indians Initiative”. You think that’s not something we can successfully oppose?

    Racism, actual racism, with patterns of injustice supported by the actions of large numbers of people, is not inevitable. As huge as it may seem when we speak of tens of millions killed by racism – both racist genocide and racist slavery – in the US, the individual choices, the concrete actions taken that create and perpetuate systems are acts almost too small for most to admit that they could ever be malicious on the scale of a Final Solution.

    But here’s the thing: whether you’re on the side of the people forced into the death chambers or on the side of the people doing the forcing, the people who died in the Holocaust died only one Wounded Knee at a time. When smallpox steals your last breath, it does so because of one infected blanket, not 10,000.

    It will be a long time before we can tackle racial prejudice in the only way that truly supports eradication, because that requires that we stop seeing race while the ongoing existence of racism, its subjugations, its genocides, its murders, its policies, and even its petty harassments of women on vacation requires us to pay attention to race so that racism can be effectively opposed.

    So, yes. We’re stuck with racial prejudice for a good long while, and when we have the luxury of turning our focus to prejudice itself and not the various racist systems that prejudice supports we will still have to fight some tendencies that seem deeply rooted in how our brains function.

    But, no. We’re not stuck with racism. Racism is something we can end in a generation if we can motivate all the people of good will to coordinated, sustained action. The prejudiced among us can have their actions separated from systems of power, from the institutions who today spend their money harassing women on vacations or students touring universities. It doesn’t take much. From Rialto, California to Fort Collins, Colorado to Ferguson, Missouri to North Charleston, South Carolina, to Spokane, Washington we can turn out to vote and cut the racists’ funding 13,455 dollars and 32 cents at a time.

    *1: certainly more than 2,000,000, though precise figures are hard to produce and the best estimates are at least double this

  56. Curious Digressions says

    @Brony, Social Justice Cenobite
    White: Essays on Race and Culture, by Richard Dyer has the illustration you’re looking for.
    @Marcus Ranum
    What is wrong with us, indeed.

  57. rrhain says

    And is anybody surprised? Peggy Noonan championed this very idea after the 9/11 attacks, saying that if she saw an Arab-looking person who didn’t smile at her, she would assume he was a terrorist and call the cops on him. And if it turns out that he wasn’t, well, she’d apologize and take him out to a nice dinner.

    Indeed, there is something wrong with white people.

  58. unclefrogy says

    well that is an interesting question whether these kinds of events or open discrimination are on the increase.
    I think it would be safe to say that in 1940 this event would be unusual because there would be no way in hell any black people would be renting any room in a white neighborhood for any length of time. If they were though the reaction at least out here in southern cal (L.A.) would not be what could be called polite in any form.
    So are these types of events new or a continuation of old patterns, a new iteration. we have as far as I know and from my personal experience have always had a multi-tiered system of justice and law enforcement. If there is anything new about it today it is the loud and negative public reaction.
    such as it is in 1940 few outside those directly involved would even know anything about it at all except on a slow news day of course.
    uncle frogy

  59. unclefrogy says

    how did that happen? adjust the period and paragraph to make more sense

  60. jrkrideau says

    @ 61 Brony
    Thanks. I had not realized just how virulent the attacks on the Irish in the USA.

    As far as I am aware, while Irish-Catholics in Canada met with a good bit of hostility, at least in English-speaking Canada, some of it seems to have been as much or more anti-Catholicism (see George Brown) as anti-Irish as there was a strong Orange Irish presence in the colonies which seemed to fit in with the existing power structure.

    Don Akenson, in his book, An Irish History of the World, mentions that many Irish immigrants chose Canada over the USA due to the discrimination in the latter. I just had not realized how bad it was.

  61. billyjoe says

    Okay, too many to respond to, so I’ll just make the observation that some commenters are dissected mercilessly and others get free passes, justifications, and even encouragement from the echochambre. Some even resorted to self-flagellation! Well, whatever floats your boat.

    But, sure there are degrees of racism. So maybe I’ll retract my “as bad as” if the four commenters who made racist statements retract them.

  62. lakitha tolbert says

    #63 cryp dyke:
    I like this. I think one of the ways we discourage racial prejudice is to make it harder for people to express it, which would mean putting various rules in place that make it difficult, or impossible to engage in it. That’s at least one way to divorce racial prejudice from institutions.

    #67 unclefrogy
    I am fond of Samuel R Delaney’s theory that once a given subset of marginalized people reaches some critical population point it provokes a more virulent backlash than when there were simply fewer marginalized people in certain spaces. Part of the freedom we have to move about simply wasn’t possible forty, fifty, sixty years ago. We show up now in certain spaces in greater numbers than before, and I think some people are probably having meltdowns because of that. They’ve been inundated with decades of the idea that Black people are Godzilla, yet never considered themselves racists, because PoC were just an abstract concept to them. Then to see them in real life…! In your neighborhood…!

    That said, it’s probably some combination of black people’s freedom of movement, the invention of certain technologies, and people are paying more attention.

  63. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @billyjoe, #70:

    So maybe I’ll retract my “as bad as” if the four commenters who made racist statements retract them.

    So you’re not interested in truth and fairness quite as much as you’re interested in reciprocity? I mean, if your statement is wrong, why not simply retract it to be the best person you can be regardless of whether or not other people are jerks? If your statement is not wrong, why retract it just because other people retracted some other statement or statements?

    Well. My estimation of your character just went down. Not by a lot, you know. Just by a bit.

  64. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Eh. DOn’t worry about late – it’s a text thread. I try to get back to the ones I comment on to make sure that any replies to me get read (that’s just respectful), but I’m not perfect about it. It’s an internet comment thread. You’ve got no moral burden to follow up on every comment to you.

    in other words: don’t sweat it. it’s an internet thread.

    That out of the way, I think you’re probably right that the BPPD were probably hoping to wait out the clock so that no one would notice when they refused to discipline an officer for pulling a gun on someone. I hope legal discovery moves forward and that e-mails/texts/other records demonstrating that come to public light. Of course, that probably won’t happen. But it could.

  65. billyjoe says


    I’m happy to retract it without conditions.
    Because I’m pretty sure the other four will be doubling down before they retract theirs.

  66. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @billyjoe, #74:
    Well now, that wasn’t hard, was it? Thank you for the retraction.

    Now, did you understand anything I said about the difference between racism and racial prejudice?

  67. chigau (違う) says

    billyjoe #70
    …. I’ll just make the observation that some commenters are dissected mercilessly and others get free passes, justifications, and even encouragement from the echochambre. Some even resorted to self-flagellation! …
    [citation needed]

  68. Saad says

    billyjoe, #12

    Racism is racism no matter who wears the shoes.

    I’m glad you posted that. That right there is an instant giveaway that a person doesn’t even begin to understand racism. I wish you had opened with that as your first post on this blog.

  69. fledanow says

    To Crip Dyke @ 63, your distinction between racial prejudice and racism is interesting and I am trying to see how it might work in practice. For me, I know that when I notice I am reacting to another person based on stereotypes, I go after those reactions. I’ve got an internal monitoring system that I try to keep always switched on. I guess that, in your terms, I am trying to cope with and rewrite my brain’s inbuilt racial prejudices.

    As for fighting racism, this requires a society’s commitment to scrutinize behaviour, including words, employed in our myriad systems of government, education, business, etc. and to apply constant pressure to remove systemic racist behaviour. So, for example, in the case of the two Mohawk boys who attended the Colorado State University tour, we would look at the behaviour of the dispatcher. The dispatcher asked if the boys were “white” rather than for a description. She accepted a complaint that the boys were quiet, gave the complainant a sick feeling, were “creepy”, and wore shirts the complainant didn’t like as sufficient to send the police. In a time when we have people studying mass shootings, we surely have people who can put together a good checklist that can direct the dispatcher to question the complainant more effectively, so that the information she received was not simply grounded in the complainant’s fear and prejudice. Then the dispatcher could do a better assessment of the need to send police.

    This focus on systemic problems has the benefit of making changes without spending a lot of time and energy fighting about whether specific people are racists. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the system in question has racist results and that needs to be fixed, and can be fixed.

    Did I get this right?

  70. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Annndd now it’s happening in my own back yard (I don’t fool myself, I know this goes on as much in the North East as anywhere, it just doesn’t get reported on most of the time) Some one in her own dorm called police on a Yale grad student for..napping in the common room of her own dorm.


    If you follow the link in the article to the Yale campus paper it also says the same person called the police several months ago,on one of the grad student’s friends who was in the dorm and was lost….hmmmm I wonder what race the friend was that she called the cops on…(actually I don’t wonder at all).

    Why would you call the cops on someone you KNOW lives in your dorm….

  71. lakitha tolbert says

    I know you weren’t talking to me, but I think that’s an accurate summation.

    Just remove people’s ability to behave in a racist manner, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not someone was acting in a racist manner. They don’t have the ability-to express it because the system won’t allow it.

    As for people being racist outside of the systemic version, we already have the criminal justice system in place to handle that. Its not working exceptionally well, but it works at least sometimes.

  72. embraceyourinnercrone says

    I should have added this to my previous post, I have not lived in dorms but I lived in the barracks and shipboard for years in the military, so I know very well that living in close proximity to people you have personality clashes with can be difficult. One thing I learned is do NOT be the one to escalate the situation. The woman objecting to the grad student sleeping in the common room could have done a lot of things to try to change the situation, calling the police on someone who lived in her dorm was not one of them. Do I believe the woman who called police is a racist, yes I do, I also believe she is an idiot because she apparently can’t learn to be civil and get along with her neighbors…she seems like Mrs Kravitz goes to college (I’m an Old, it’s a Bewitched reference)

    Why did it need 3 cops to verify her identity?

  73. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I actually worked as a 911 dispatcher for a while when I needed money for school. My practical experience with that makes me think of quibbles with exactly how an operator might ask appropriate follow up questions, etc. But there’s a lot of right there.

    You do seem to clearly understand the basic distinction between racial prejudice and racism. There is also the benefit, as you say, of not needing to worry overmuch about whether someone “is a racist” in some way that defines a person’s thoughts or beliefs or value. Instead, one “is a racist” if one beneficially participates in a social system that produces racism, and you can be a good and mostly innocent 7-year old kid, certainly not a thoroughly evil sheet-wearing Klan wizard, and beneficially participate in such a system.

    It also has consequences for how we think racism can be ended. If group participation is needed to create and sustain racism, then as individuals doing nothing isn’t enough: we have to make a conscious choice to withdraw our participation. What this means might be different for different people, but if you’re at a company that has only white and asian people at your organizational level and you often go to meetings where there are no Black or indigenous or latino/a voices, going to the meetings and participating in them as they are, without changes, permits the dynamics which allow you to hold your position and compete for promotions without competition from qualified people of certain disfavored races. You’re not Hitler if you go to the meeting, but simply choosing not to shout racist epithets isn’t enough. Do you need to quit the job to refuse to participate in the racism? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe there are things you can do from inside the company. But it’s going to take conscious choices to withdraw yourself from the system and by definition (if the system is benefiting you, and we said “beneficially participate”) there will be some risks.

    In any case, this is different than racial prejudice, and you can beneficially participate in a racist system even while being far less racially prejudiced than most of the people around you. Maybe it’s out of ignorance. Maybe it’s because while you’re less prejudiced than others your particular prejudices mesh well with your particular point of engagement with the racist system. Exactly how this works doesn’t matter. But that it happens does.

    This is why people use the “I have Black friends” defense. They are confusing racial prejudice with racism. By denying one, they believe that they have no moral responsibility to address the other. And this lack of understanding, the failure to appreciate that most anti-racism activists DO understand this difference and DO employ this difference when aiming criticisms and proposing solutions, results in a widespread failure by others to even understand the criticism on offer.

    We have to do better than we’ve been doing. One part of that is simply educating the public about what anti-racists mean when they use the word “racism” so that criticisms can be heard more accurately and less defensively. I certainly didn’t originate the distinction between racism and prejudice, but I can spread the message. I’m so glad that you (and others) are interested in listening.

  74. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oops, 2 things.

    First, my comment at # 83 was for Fledanow at #79. As is the following.

    Second, I want to talk about comment 77 which I think shows other ways in which this distinction is necessary to understand important conversations and statements. When you read Saad at 77, think of what might be being articulated. I don’t speak for Saad, but from what i know of both anti-racist activism and of Saad, I’d be surprised if what is being expressed in #77 isn’t a criticism of billyjoe’s conflation of racial prejudice with racism.

    Calling someone the n-word might be part of a work of art, might be ironic, might be a reference to past events by which old friends release stress and have a laugh while poking fun at someone racist that they used to know. It might be any number of non-bad things. But it might also be participation in racism.

    Calling someone a cracker might be any of those things above, but it could never be racism. It could easily be an expression of racial prejudice, but it can’t be an expression of racism.

    Racial prejudice is bad and should go away forever. But racism has to go first, because if the people who care about justice choose not to see color, then the only people who do see it will be the ones perpetuating existing racist power structures. It is a fact of life that we must be able to see how different people of different races are victimized differently and with different frequency in ways correlated with race if we are going to be able to identify – and thus end – racism.

    Addressing racial prejudice becomes a much more difficult problem in the short term than it might at first seem. Yes, we want people not to be racially prejudiced, but no, we don’t want people to stop seeing race – not yet at least. Since racial prejudice isn’t hard wired into our brains, but psychological heuristics are, and those heuristics make humans much better at quick, generalized associations than careful, critical evaluation of specific pieces of evidence applicable to an individual or unique situation, in attempting to eradicate racial prejudice we are fighting a tendency human brains (though, thankfully, not directly fighting anything actually hard-wired). This makes the struggle more difficult still.

    For these reasons, some people choose to address only racism (at least in others), and to not worry about the societal problem with racial prejudice until after the societal problem with racism (at the very least on the national and state/province levels) is solved or nearly so. Others focus almost entirely on ending racial prejudice, taking the long view, trusting that racism will somehow be solved along the way. Thus you have different approaches (actually many, many different approaches, of which these two are insufficient examples). This creates further conflict between people it would seem superficially might be allies.

    It’s all a very complicated thing, and you can have good will and be fighting racial prejudice and trying to create a color-blind world, but there are a lot of people who have good reason to think that simply swapping out our Kodachrome for some more colorless medium won’t change every law that needs to be changed, fix every policy, right every injustice. If we stop looking for race, it’s almost inevitable we won’t see some racism because the people of good will are likely to take up the cause of anti-prejudice long before the people of ill will. Plus there are simply a TON of laws still on the books, ongoing policies, and many, many more things that amount to codified racism. Will we remember to comb through our old rules and cull the racist ones after we no longer see race? Will we remember how?

    billyjoe’s comments that racism is racism no matter who wears the shoes is an expression of the idea that racial prejudice and racism are the same thing and require the same solution. Saad criticizes that for what it is, a position that in its ignorance and naïveté ignores the nature of the work required to fix racism, and because of that ignorance serves to at least risk the perpetuation of racism if not exactly guarantee its perpetuation.

    I suspect that what billyjoe hears is that we here believe that billyjoe embraces racial prejudice. But that’s not the critique. The critique is that in his ignorance he’s serving the racist system rather than challenging it. And as I’ve mentioned above, that isn’t something only done by Klan wizards.

    Of course, there’s also the critique that billyjoe appears to believe himself educated on topics with which he is only shallowly familiar and then pronounces with all the confidence of an expert. That kind of relationship between arrogant certainty and mere superficial knowledge isn’t unique to billyjoe, but it is terribly grating on the people who actually do know what they’re talking about.

    So Saad sums this up (or I imagine that Saad is summing this up) in the way that only Saad and a couple billion others can do: using a dozen words where I feel compelled to use a thousand. In this case:

    That right there is an instant giveaway that a person doesn’t even begin to understand racism.

  75. Saad says

    That’s kind of you, CD. Yes, that is how I meant my post.T

    The reason I mostly write in one or two sarcastic sentences is that when I post a few paragraphs and go back and read the post, it sounds awkward af.


  76. fledanow says

    to Crip Dyke,

    Firstly, let me thank you for your patience as I work through this. My battles have mostly been around sexual and domestic violence and child welfare and, while racism might be part of the circumstances, it wasn’t necessarily so. But power imbalance was, and that’s the lens through which I have always looked at racism. So when billyjoe implied that a racist is a racist is a racist, the first thing that struck me was bj’s refusal to see what relative power does to human interactions.

    Your uncoupling of racial prejudice and racism helps me get my thoughts clearer around the idea of privilege, because with this analysis, one’s degree of racial prejudice is irrelevant to one’s kind and amount of privilege. and therefore one’s participation in racism. Similarly, it doesn’t matter how often my son’s white and Asian friends call each other the n-word in a spirit of friendly brotherhood, they can never use that word without a taint of racism, and their intention cannot change that.

    As for the idea of “not seeing colour”, that has never made sense to me. Of course we see colour. We notice people’s hair colour, eye colour, clothing colour, but not their skin colour? That’s absurd. It’s the meaning we give to a colour that needs to be addressed, not how our brain interprets the signals coming from our eyes. I think someone who “doesn’t see colour” is refusing to see differences, and that is just racism in another cloak.

    However, getting the analysis down is one thing. Abjuring one’s privilege is something else. Where I live, there are few Black people but a lot of First Nation peoples. I’ve worked with Aboriginal groups, been a resource and advocated for Aboriginal families, and confronted racist policies in my workplaces. I now live in retirement below the poverty line, eating a lot of soup but fairly comfortable with my record and my ethics. But I have no clue how I could actually withdraw from the system. I’m white. I can’t stop being white. What do you mean by “withdraw from the system”?

    Finally, I love how you write and how your brain works.

  77. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    First, I’ll just blush a little. That out of the way, I’ll say just a bit more about that last question of yours:

    What do you mean by “withdraw from the system”?

    Remembering that racism is a system that produces unjust racial power differences, in the context of our discussion, “withdrawing” means that you can’t passively receive benefits of the system. Failing to provide overt support isn’t enough. You have to make a conscious choice not to let your behavior support the system.

    Looking back, I’m not sure “withdraw” really is the best verb for this but Howard Zinn has said “You can’t be neutral on a moving train”. If you don’t like where the train of your society is headed and some people are arguing we need to shift tracks and go in a new direction, staying out of the conversation means, effectively, supporting the current track choice and sending the train to the current destination.

    In using withdraw I was trying to communicate that you have to actively remove your support from the current racist system. Failing to act at all leaves the system in place. Of course you’ll continue to be white, but you can think anew about how you vote, possibly then voting for different candidates. You can spend money different places. You can recognize when you’re laughing nervously at a racist joke and examine the social fear of standing against someone making a shitty, racist joke because people will think you’re uppity or bitchy or persistent or – if you live in a particularly crappy place, horrifyingly likely to be in the 49% of people who are, OMG, left-of-center. Fear of social ostracism is a real thing, and we can’t always act instantly and strongly against racism (or do other right-but-hard things) in those real and fleeting moments in our lives that present such opportunities. It helps to think about these things in advance. It helps to cultivate friends that can provide fallback support when your bookclub friends think you’re a jerk for being so uncouth as to prioritize anti-racism over not rocking the boat. It also helps just trying it. Saying something once and seeing how it goes in your social milieu makes it easier to predict what might be a good thing to say next time.

    ALL this work is part of the ongoing work of withdrawing your support from a racist system. You’ve probably done some – maybe a lot – of this work already, but it’s also not something that’s easy to simply stop doing and consider your burden discharged. Sure there are times in your life when you don’t have a lot of extra energy – Caine from this conversation is fighting cancer right now, for instance – and maybe in those circumstance you let pass by some opportunities to undermine support the racist system. Or maybe you don’t have any energy left to play nice and you attack it more. Either is justifiable. We’re human beings and only you can know how much you can really do. So “withdrawing” is going to look different for each person and can change as the person moves to a different location, changes social groups, or gains/loses ability, energy or education.

    I suspect based on the statement that you’re “fairly comfortable with [your] record and [your] ethics” that you already do a number of things that constitute withdrawing support for racism. I’m not going to tell you you’re not doing enough or exactly what you have to do. But if you do have further questions as you think about things from a new perspective, I’m happy to talk about your ideas with you and to help if I can.

    I’m sure PZ wouldn’t mind us thrashing around with these difficult topics in an idiosyncratic, highly personal way because these are important topics and even though the exact circumstances won’t apply to anyone but you, others can easily gain insight into their own situations by looking at those of others. But if you want to address more specific questions outside of public view, you can also e-mail me at “crip dyke” without the space at the google mail thingy. With a dotCOM of course.

  78. billyjoe says

    Crip Dyke,

    The trouble with Saad is that his posts, regardless of their intent, are both superfluous and ineffective. If he’s occasionally had something to say, it’s already been said by others and much more effectively. He never manages to say enough to make it clear what he’s saying. You do put yourself at risk by adding detail but if you’re going to be a coward why not just say nothing at all. That’s why I’ve often treated his comments as jokes. At one time I actually thought they were intended that way. I’ve called him yapping lapdog. I don’t know that he can do any better.

    I get your distinction between racial prejudice and racism, although I’m not sure what the agreed difference is. What you are saying is that the sort of statements made by those other two commenters might reflect prejudice but do not reflect racism. Of course, I don’t really think that the statements reflect their authors’ racism. After all the second statement was said by a self-identified white woman; and the first statement by someone who subsequently pointed out they are white. I actually assumed he was black, so I saw his statement as racist. But I’m happy to go along with “racially prejudiced”. The point I was actually trying to make is that you don’t counteract “there’s something wrong with black people” with “there’s something wrong with white people”. What their purpose was in saying it I have no idea. Maybe just a bit of virtue signaling that misfired.

    Also you said that a person with black friends is not prejudiced, but can still be a racist. Yes they can. I’ve seen this first hand – to the great embarrassment of both him and his black friend. And there was that incident with Mel Gibson who has lots of Jewish friends but still managed to say things which were extremely anti-Semitic. However, there’s more hope for a racist who has black friends than for a racist who has no black friends; and even less for a racist who avoids black people. It does actually help to have a black friend because then you have a real person as a reference point. You can see at least one black person as a human being. A real human being behind the amorphous label. All it requires is some extrapolation on their part.

    In your zeal for change, you need to be careful you’re not actually making the problem worse. You need a range of strategies and you need to use them selectively. Someone with a black friend who is nevertheless racist will respond to different strategies than someone who would never have a black friend. The first is a potential ally who can be either encouraged or pushed away. With the second, you’re probably never going to influence them in a positive direction, but you can avoid influencing them in a negative direction, and you can counteract their negative influence on others by, for example, countering their racist speech.

    I have to tell you that the strategies employed on this blog are largely counter-productive as far as I can see. Of course, I’ve been around long enough that it has not affected the way I feel and think about the issues discussed here. Also, I’m an immigrant who has never been subjected to prejudice or racism of any kind, and I grew up in a multicultural society and had friends with all sports of ethnic backgrounds. But I can well imagine the negative effect it could have on a less experienced person from a more racially homogenous background who has not made up their minds on these issues. Aggressively swearing at such a person for an unintentional or minor transgression is not going to make that person your ally.

  79. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    You’re also very good at those short, sharp comments. You’re one of the people on here whose writing style I wish I could emulate. There are lots of people who offer great content on pharyngula – Giliell, Caine, aratinacage, I’ve always loved David Marjanovic’s contributions, I miss Tony! the Queer Shoop, lots and lots of others – but at least theoretically I can learn the content.

    Your writing I just flat out envy because, for whatever reason, I just can’t do that. I can’t make myself pithy. I’m like Virginia Woolf who can write 4 pages of no-dialog that describes a single character stirring her tea and thinking. But try to get something important down to 25 words or less? You might as well ask me to build an Alcubierre drive. Emily Dickinson I’m not.

    Anyway, you’re awesome and I’m glad you comment here.

  80. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    First, you’d be wise not to gender people without asking first or otherwise getting some sort of positive information. Assumptions don’t work very well. That’s why I declined to gender you in most of my initial comments towards you and apologized when I did throw in a gendered pronoun unintentionally.


    I have to tell you that the strategies employed on this blog are largely counter-productive as far as I can see.

    yeah, here’s the thing with that. You can only know if a strategy is effective or not if you know what the goal is. If someone here is making a rude, sarcastic comment to vent stress, then whether or not the target of the rude sarcasm becomes an ally has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the comment. The only way to judge the effectiveness of the comment is to find out if making the comment actually preceded a reduction in the author’s stress.

    You seem to do a lot of assuming that you are in the target audience or that you know who the target audience of a comment is or that you know what the goal of someone’s communication is. If your assumptions were largely correct, that wouldn’t be a problem. But you really don’t seem to get it right very often.

    it’s perfectly acceptable to have places where people retreat from a hostile world to blow off steam, sip some Flint tap water and ask, “Fuck! Those racist, Republican, sexist environment-destroyers sure are a bunch of assholes, aren’t they?” It doesn’t encourage Republicans to bring over a pack of Skittles and apologize, but it’s a necessary part of human socialization and psychological rejuvenation.

    Maybe, just maybe, shit isn’t about your priorities and your assessment of “effectiveness” is so totally irrelevant you might as well answer the question, “What do you want for dinner?” with “I appreciate that she may have been underrated at one point, but I think probably Hildegard von Bingen is now overrated.”

    So say all you want about how you totes get that racism and racial prejudice are different, but the fact remains that your earlier comments showed that **you didn’t understand that at all, even though others clearly have understood that for a lot longer than you’ve been commenting here**. Combine that with the fact that you’ve been acting as if you’re more knowledgable about racism than others and justifying your assessment of your own ethical superiority with others’ failure to treat early comments in this thread the same as we treat the actions of a woman who called the cops on vacationing Black women because they didn’t wave. Combine that with your willingness to assess the “effectiveness” of a strategy without even knowing what the goal of a given comment might be.

    Is it even beginning to dawn on you yet that Saad might actually have been making a valid point when calling attention to the fact that your earlier comments showed no awareness of any distinction between racial prejudice and racism?

    You’re saying that you dismiss Saad as if that says something about Saad. What the rest of us get is that your willingness to dismiss Saad says something about you and your willingness to learn from others, to adopt a certain epistemic humility that’s necessary to productive conversation.

    But fuckit. I’ve said all that before in different words and it didn’t sink in then. I don’t expect anything different from you now.

  81. Tethys says

    Racism is racism no matter who wears the shoes.

    billy is a veritable font of logical fallacy. All things not being equal is the base reality of racism, and sexism. As a WW, I can be reasonable certain that renting an airBnB and failing to wave to the neighbot* would never result in a small, heavily armed police force showing up to terrorize and threaten me. I can also report that as a WW of a certain age, I have yelled at police officers, and been outright verbally hostile to them with complete impunity on numerous occasions. My privilege as a WW is the certainty that my civil rights will be automatically and unquestioningly accorded to me by the police.

    *typo, but I find the term both amusing and apt.

  82. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    ….sorry, I got a bit carried away there.

    No one cares if you write lengthy comments or short ones, except weirdos like Saad & me who envy each other’s writing styles. We care about the content of what you say. Besides, my comments are almost always lengthier than yours, and no one is trying to run me out on the rails.

  83. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says



    I love this too.

  84. Tethys says

    I personally love reading witty short comments, and long, explanatory, detailed comments. Well reasoned thoughts and pithy writing are far preferable to snowflakes defending white people from racism. (of all things!)

    I love this too.

    I am pleased you like it CD, I thought you in particular might get a kick out it. ;)

  85. Saad says

    billyjoe, #87

    The trouble with Saad is that his posts, regardless of their intent, are both superfluous and ineffective. If he’s occasionally had something to say, it’s already been said by others and much more effectively. He never manages to say enough to make it clear what he’s saying. You do put yourself at risk by adding detail but if you’re going to be a coward why not just say nothing at all. That’s why I’ve often treated his comments as jokes. At one time I actually thought they were intended that way

    What you seem to be incapable of grasping is that there is no need to say anything convincing to people like you. I have no interest in convincing or correcting people who take the side of racism and misogyny. You’re wrong by default. This isn’t mathematics class where I have to show you a method or proof. And taking my comments as jokes is much closer to the mark than thinking I’m trying to engage in a conversation with you. But unlike you, the one thing I don’t do is hide my opinion on a subject behind bullshit cowardly attempts at appearing objective and honest. We’ve had plenty of people like you come through here already. You’re not fooling anyone. We know how you feel about racists and rapists.

  86. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    billyjoe thinks everything written here is about him. He thinks he’s the audience. He thinks that the speakers share his goals. He thinks that if **he** doesn’t laugh, then something isn’t a joke. He’s constantly trying to evaluate things without even considering the fact that someone may know more than he does about a topic, or that someone may not care if he understands. It’s a very special kind of privilege. By which I mean a special kind of something else.

  87. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe, #87

    Maybe just a bit of virtue signaling that misfired.

    I find it interesting when ‘liberals’ go to liberal/leftie sites and spend all their time defending extremely illiberal ideas and people, even going so far as to use the jargon of the enemy without a trace of irony, yet still expect actual liberals/progressives/leftists to be fooled by their transparent attempts at sabotage.

    It’s a bit like that commenter who was here a while back (last summer, I think?) who kept going on and on about “Zionism” as well as trying to incite people into making actionable threats. When challenged, you could tell they thought they were blending in just fine, yet it was so obvious that they were, at the very least, just here to try to stir things up. Personally, I suspect they were law-enforcement/intelligence, who I wish I could believe were too smart to try something so painfully ridiculous.

    I don’t know what your game is, billyjoe, and I don’t really care enough to speculate about your specific drives right now. I just wanted to say that, if you can’t even fool me, you aren’t fooling anyone here.

  88. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I noticed that “virtue signaling that misfired” bit myself.

    The truly odd thing is that **even if** the bullshit virtue signaling myth of the right was correct and was applicable to this “attempt”, the whole fucking point of virtue signaling is to highlight a particular in-group/out-group boundary. So the virtue signaling wouldn’t have “gone wrong” unless someone was trying specifically to cozy up to billyjoe.

    So either billyjoe is so fucking ignorant he believes that the signaling was aimed at forming a tribal bond with billyjoe (and not other people) or billyjoe has no fucking clue what he’s saying or billyjoe actually knows the meaning of the words he’s saying and is lying SO. FUCKING. HARD.

    It’s just amazing that billyjoe thinks that statements like this are scoring any points for him when the only logically possible implications are
    1. He’s an arrogant asshat
    2. He’s an ignorant asshat
    3. He’s a dishonest asshat.

    I would pull a Bugs Bunny here and say, “What a maroon!” but I wouldn’t want to tarnish any commenters that are actually providing value to the community.

    *1: which is bullshit because it layers myth on top of a small core of truth removed from its sociology/anthropology context, not because there was never any legitimate use of the term “virtue signaling” in the academic press

  89. fledanow says

    See, I didn’t read bj’s post #87 the first time around because he was trying to talk to one person about what he deemed was wrong with another person and that is all kinds of wrong. I was right to avoid it. Even Crip Dyke’s analyses didn’t make it worth reading.

  90. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Now I have to go back and read what bj said.

    A fate worse than some other fate.

  91. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I’m not actually ignoring your question about how to withdraw. I actually wrote a cripdyke-length comment that somehow got eaten (i’m sure I must have somehow pressed a wrong button). But maybe it’s better to take that discussion over to Caine’s house: she offers The NeverEnding Thread over on affinity for general banter and more personal/individual discussions.

    Or you can e-mail me if you like. @cripdyke, of course, over on the google-mail thingy. dotCOM of course.

  92. fledanow says

    Crip Dyke,

    Thank you for the invitation. I’ll wander over to Affinity and see if I can find the thread. I’m sure I am not the only one who can benefit from this discussion. If I get lost, I’ll send you a whimpering email asking for directions.

    Your answer here might show up later. A reply I sent on the article about the incident at Colorado U disappeared. I figured I had done something wrong, since I seldom post here. I tried posting it several times without success. Two days later, they have ALL shown up. erp.

  93. John Morales says


    fledanow, Crip Dyke also has a blog on this network (Pervert Justice on the sidebar).


  94. chigau (違う) says

    billyjoe #88
    I have to tell you that the strategies employed on this blog are largely counter-productive as far as I can see.
    Hang on,
    We™ have strategies?
    Why was I not informed?

  95. fledanow says

    Crip Dyke @ 104, Your long comment did show up and I thank you for the response. And I don’t think the right word is “withdraw”. Maybe it’s something like “wage a continuous war, internally and externally, against racism and blindness to one’s privilege while simultaneously learning to and taking the lead from the victims of racism”, but I think perhaps that’s a bit long.

    I found the thread at Affinity, but I don’t know the proper way to introduce a new topic. It seems that The NeverEnding Thread actually has subthreads that start and end, so…?!

  96. rq says

    billyjoe @88

    I have to tell you that the strategies employed on this blog are largely counter-productive as far as I can see. Of course, I’ve been around long enough that it has not affected the way I feel and think about the issues discussed here. [emphasis mine]

    Believe me, it has been noticed. Though, on my part, there is some doubt about whether you’ve done any thinking at all.


    Crip Dyke
    It’s so good to see you at your explanatory best. Thank you for taking the time and the keystrokes, it’s not just fledanow getting the benefit of your thought processes!

    I hope you keep doing what you do here in the comments because I like it.


    There is something wrong with white people, as Marcus has already mentioned.

  97. rq says

    fledanow @109
    Just introduce yourself and start talking (I’m there on occasion myself)! Most topics get brought in randomly, depending on everyone’s moods and life events, so there’s no worries about interrupting, though it’s a slow-moving thread and you might end up waiting a while for a response. Also multiple topics at a time is entirely possible, as well. Come and join in.

  98. chris61 says

    My house was burgled many years ago. No one saw it and the burglars were never caught but given that the back door was broken, the front door unlocked, only small items were stollen and one of them was a suitcase, it is probably safe to assume that the burglar or burglars likely walked out the front door carrying their loot in a suitcase. So unless I knew my neighbor was running an airbnb, if I saw a group of people carting suitcases out of a neighbors house with no neighbor in sight and they failed to acknowledge me when I queried them, I’d likely call the police too.

  99. Porivil Sorrens says

    Because, as we all know, walking up to a group of apparently peaceful people moving their luggage and going “Hey, what’a going on here?” Is just too damn hard and totally not an option.

    Its either vaguely wave at them and receive the “I’m totally not a burglar” wave, or call the cops.

  100. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Porivil Sorrens:

    It makes sense to do the wave test because, y’know, burglars who rob houses in broad daylight would never act friendly to throw off suspicion. They would always refuse to wave. And then badly hide their overlarge “hurry up” gestures to their accomplices. Because they’re burglars. QED