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View Diary: The Boston Marathon Bombing Shows Us How White Privilege Hurts White People...Again (110 comments)

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  •  Their ability (0+ / 0-)

    to "blend in" is what gave them the ability to carry out the attack in the first place; they were banking on it. Look at the security video; they walk through the crowd without suspicion; they are not given a second glance by anyone.

    Given the extremely heightened police presence that comes with the running of the Boston Marathon as well as all of the spectators and the general festival atmosphere that surrounds Patriots Day in Boston... do you really think that anyone with dark skin and malicious intent would have been able to leave a backpack containing  an explosive device without being noticed?

    Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

    by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:22:11 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well, to be frank (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical

      I'm not certain that a black person would have drawn the same degree of attention as someone perceived as "looking" Arab or Middle Eastern. It depends to a degree on whether a black presence is considered "normal" at a particular event. I live in Atlanta so perceptions at public events might differ significantly from what is considered "normal" in Boston.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:47:51 PM PDT

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      •  Nobody could have stopped these bombers. (0+ / 0-)

        Whatever they looked like.  

        I'm afraid that my signature won't match the mood of my comment.

        by heybuddy on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:53:02 PM PDT

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        •  Nobody? (0+ / 0-)

          That's a bit sweeping. If someone had noticed them leaving the backpacks and gotten suspicious, maybe. I don't think that's really the point of the discussion though.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:56:24 PM PDT

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          •  I only mean I heard they dropped (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WB Reeves

            the bags and the explosions followed very shortly after. If that's true, then I think it's just one of those things that there is no way to defend against. There just isn't enough time.

            I'm afraid that my signature won't match the mood of my comment.

            by heybuddy on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:04:41 PM PDT

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      •  Black men (0+ / 0-)

        may not have  drawn attention for the same reason someone perceived as Middle Eastern... but it is arguable that they would be more immediately viewed with suspicion  by more people...because that is how people have been conditioned to respond to black men going back centuries...

        Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

        by awesumtenor on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 06:30:49 PM PDT

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        •  In all public gatherings? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical

          An MLK Day celebration or an Atlanta Hawks game for example? That something is generally true doesn't make it so in every particular circumstance.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:56:03 PM PDT

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          •  as you know non violent black marchers (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens, Avila, WB Reeves

            with King where shot at, beaten, arrested, and had acid thrown on them. the black body holds a special place in the white racial imagination of the United States. never mind the literal immolation, destruction, and breaking apart of the black body in the spectacular lynching ritual.

            and of course, how subconscious racism and implicit bias primes white people in psychological tests to see black men holding harmless objects as having them magically transformed into guns, knives, and other weapons.

            or Rodney King, a man subdued, outnumbered, and damn near beaten to death could be imagined by white audiences and the white public as being some type of "threat." the great book Reading Rodney King has some great essays on race and representation as seen in that example of police brutality.

            this is a society sick with racism.

            there is another irony there--why would an Atlanta Hawks game be a space where the black body would be seen as "threatening?" this may not be your point, but it signals to how the black body is perceived as a threat until it is shown to not be. funny, the vast majority of hate crimes and racial violence in the U.S. have historically and in the present been committed by whites against people of color.

            •  I think you missed my point entirely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Be Skeptical

              There are social context in which the presence of black folks would not be seen as suspicious or threatening simply because their presence would be entirely expected. This doesn't invalidate the general observation that our culture is awash in the stereotype of the threatening black male.

              For example, if one were subject to a pavlovian fear of black men, one wouldn't likely attend an Atlanta Hawks game, since you would expect to be surrounded by black men. Likewise, if one were attending an MLK Day celebration one would hardly be suspicious of the presence of a large number of black men.

              My only point was that there are instances where blackness isn't the main marker for racist attitudes. When people rant delusionally about dangerous foreign immigrants they are not evoking the image of blackness. When the subject is "Arab" or "Islamic" terrorism, they are not evoking the image of blackness. These are exceptional instances but they are no less true for being exceptional.

              Again, the existence of such exceptions doesn't invalidate the premise that our society is characterized by "negrophobia". It does indicate that white supremacy isn't entirely defined by that phobia.  

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:42:33 AM PDT

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              •  I submit (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WB Reeves

                that Patriots Day in Downtown Boston is not such a social context...

                Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                by awesumtenor on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:56:16 AM PDT

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                •  That I wouldn't know (0+ / 0-)

                  Though I've visited Boston, I've never attended the marathon or been there on Patriots Day, so I've no direct knowledge of the degree of participation or non-participation by Black folks in either event. Perhaps you possess such direct knowledge. In which case I would defer to your greater expertise.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:42:22 AM PDT

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    •  Let me get this straight.... (0+ / 0-)

      Are you suggesting that if the person was black or latino, he would not have been able to leave a backpack unnoticed? Also, how does a bystander "see" malicious intent?

      •  that is the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, Avila

        we know alot about racial profiling and how people process "neutral" intent. as someone who has been profiled as "arab" by TSA and Homeland Security and also followed around department stores because I was--shock--dressed just like the other folks there who were white, the observation that race matters here is spot on.

        we also have some great data about shoplifting at department stores for example which points out how white men--the largest group of pro shoplifters--are able to get away with it because they are not seen de facto as "suspicious." store security is chasing around black and brown folks when they should be focused on their own employees, white men, and middle age to elderly white women.

        the new yorker had a great piece on that a few years ago.

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