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View Diary: Slate gets it wrong on "liberal schadenfreude." (290 comments)

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  •  I live in Georgia (10+ / 0-)

    we are well on our way to a supermajority for the extremist and more conservative faction of the GOP in both houses wherein they will pass anti people/pro-business amendments and bills unopposed. We have been a right to work state for what feels like forever. We have just passed another amendment that will allow state funded privately operated public charter schools after that same state defunded public ed by billions of dollars. Not many people here know about ALEC, who I believe have used Georgia as a lab experiment to see how far they can go with their model legislation. I am forever spreading the word, to my GOP colleagues and friends and those liberals that have not yet seen the evidence.

    I do face to face word battle with the opposition on a daily basis but I do not belittle or mock them. I want them on my side eventually. If I listen to them, I find that they listen to me. And someday when this wacked out GA government gets its way those that aren't extremists will see and understand me without having to get past hating me first.
    That's a win for us both.

    •  Good luck in your efforts (5+ / 0-)

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:23:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What do you do (4+ / 0-)

      about the racism?  My best friend moved to Georgia (Atlanta suburbs) 20 years ago, and had no idea that many of the people she considered friends were actually a bunch of racists who came out of the closet when Obama became a candidate.

      She's been in tears on the phone with me through both election cycles- I'm much more confrontational than she is and she always feels guilty for not attacking their racist bullshit.  I never know how to advise her- personally I believe that racism should never be tolerated and that staying silent implies consent.  She thinks she couldn't deal with the backlash if she spoke up- I don't see how that would be worse than giving implied consent and then feeling like shit about it.  Any advice?

      •  I speak my mind (4+ / 0-)

        I tell the truth. I present evidence and opportunity and I wait.
        It's been my experience through acquaintances and family members that the racist mindset is mostly (not always) conquered by personal experience, exposure, and evidence that it's wrong on the part of the person with racist feelings, not by shunning because I think there are too many people that share racist ideas for shunning to work.
        I don't know how else to go about it, and don't claim to have the secret key. It's been fucked up forever and will probably take forever to right.

        •  I get that as a general principle, (4+ / 0-)

          but she's specifically upset about the racist insults she hears and the racist emails she gets, some of which are absolutely horrible.  She's at least gone so far as to ask people to stop sending them, but that doesn't seem to stop them. In some cases, it seems to encourage them, as though they're sticking to their guns or something.  So the next email will be even more appalling.

          I keep telling her that she needs to tell them she'll break off the relationship if they don't stop (that's what I would do and have done), so I guess I'm in favor of shunning. Or at least the  threat of shunning- it worked for me, but you have to really mean it and I did. Honestly I don't even understand why she would want to maintain relationships with people who are not only racist, but also completely disrespectful of her feelings.

          I keep thinking that if she would tell them what she really feels- that their behavior is disgusting and repulsive to her- that they might at least think twice and realize that it might be disgusting and appalling to a whole lot of other people.

          •  When you say shunning worked for you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gramofsam1

            do you mean that it moved those people away from their racist ideas? Or that you got away from the stink of it? Or that it turned the people you know that are overt racists into covert racists? Were these people hopeless and harassing? I've cut ties or try to avoid plenty of people, racist or not that are just harassing because that's how they get their jollies. Online and off. Even here.

            I'm not clear on what you mean by relationships and why she is prevented from speaking her mind.

            I have to get ready for work.

            •  What worked for me was telling (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              boudi08, DrCoyle65, catfood

              people- in this case family members- that if they said anything racist in front of me, they would not be seeing me or my kids anymore.  And I meant it. It started when my brother told a racist joke at Christmas dinner and I told him to apologize and swear never to do it again, or leave my house and plan to cook his own damn turkey in the future. Then I made it clear to everyone that there was a zero tolerance policy for all of them.  There was some moaning about political correctness and how were they supposed to know what I consider racist, and I said you're all smart enough to figure it out and I suggest you err on the side of caution.  Then there was "but I'm your brother" and I said yes, and these are my kids and they will never hear shit like that from my family again, so deal with it.

              They definitely changed their behavior. I can't know for sure how much it changed their thinking, but I think it had an impact- they were definitely startled by the vehemence of my reaction and I'm guessing they took casual racism more seriously as a result.  I know it had an impact on my nieces and nephews, cause they told me so when they got older.

              In my friend's case, the relationships are friends, and the racism is much more overt.  That's why I think shunning is the only solution for her- tell them to knock it off or the relationship is over. She's reluctant to do that, partly because some of these people were very helpful to her in a crisis, and partly (maybe mostly) because she hates confrontation. She's also convinced herself that she would lose all of her friends, since the racism is so widespread.  I think it's more likely that most of them- the ones worth keeping- would apologize and back off.  But I've never lived in the South so I could be wrong.

              Anyway, thanks for responding- I know there's no magic bullet but she's a wreck right now (Obama's re-election was a big racism trigger), and I honestly believe that she won't be happy with herself unless she stands up for what's right no matter what the consequences.

              •  Well, it's certainly easy enough (0+ / 0-)

                to click "unfriend" on FaceBook to the unrepentant. Or to not attend the next floating block party, or not get into conversations about politics and/or religion with neighbors. Dealing with family is more difficult because the reasons we stay in touch are more important than politics and/or religion.

                So I've gotten pretty good at simply scrolling past the sleazy political and/or religious screeds these people dutifully re-post on FaceBook because they don't do their own thinking or writing. And if they send me such crap by email I mark it (thus them) as spam and that's the last I ever see of it.

                •  I guess I don't see racism (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau

                  as politics, I see it as poison.  My siblings are Republican, and I can deal with that because that is politics (although I argue with them relentlessly).

                  But there was no way I would expose my kids to racist talk from my family.  And it's a good thing I took a hard line, since my daughter's first two kids are bi-racial and AA (they were adopted as infants).  My siblings knew by that time that they'd better have nothing to say about it except congratulations.  And of course now they adore the kids and think they're fabulous (which they are).

                  •  Well, there's a reason why (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gramofsam1

                    we lived at least 500 miles from our extended families when the kids were growing up, and it wasn't just politics/religion. So I hear you, and would insist on the same thing if any of them were truly racist, and wouldn't feel bad in the least.

                    The kind of racist things we hear from what's left of the extended family (now minus parents and several siblings - we've got grandkids old enough to vote) are mostly the thoughtless variety easily countered by simply showing them how it comes across. Crap they pick up from their religio circles that they just haven't thought about and will readily drop when called on it. They honestly aren't down-deep racist haters, and for that I'm always grateful.

                    And I think the younger generations will be progressively less and less likely to even be thoughtless because they've too much life experience with various races of individuals. It really is getting better over time. Perhaps it's a good thing that the last of the die-hard are spotlighted right now. They're darned ugly and need to be spotlighted.

              •  I understand having been there in a crisis part (0+ / 0-)

                I had a similar situation with a neighbor that was so helpful to me when I was alone raising two kids and working. I asked him to stop calling people derogatory racist names and not to speak that way around my kids. His wife backed me up and he did stop. I hope that over time some of our talks turned him a bit. He got very mushy when he was dying and dropped a lot of the facade he had kept up trying to be a good old Georgia boy.

                There are plenty of people all over Georgia that aren't racist. She shouldn't have a problem finding new and better friends. People in the south aren't all alike just as they aren't elsewhere.

                Good luck to your friend.

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